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Sentence Patterns and Information

Page history last edited by Don Pogreba 11 years, 7 months ago


Most English sentences flow from subject to verb to any objects or complements.  The vast majority of sentences conform to one of these five patterns:

S + LV + PA   OR    S + LV + PN

subject/linking verb/ subject complement (predicate adjective or predicate nominative)

S + AV + DO   

subject/action verb/direct object                                             

S + AV + IO + DO

subject/action verb/indirect object/direct object

S + AV + DO + OC           

subject/action verb/direct object/object complement   

S + V





·         A sentence is made up of one or more words that express a complete thought, begins with a capital letter, and ends with end punctuation.

·         A subject names what or whom the sentence is about or the performer of the action 

·         The complete subject is usually composed of a simple subject, always a noun or pronoun, and all of its modifiers. 

·         In imperative sentences, the subject of a sentence is understood but not actually present in the sentence.

·         A verb is a word in the sentence that expresses action or a state of being.

·         A predicate is the grammatical term given to the verb plus its objects, complements, and adverbial modifiers.

·         The subject and the predicate must agree in number and person.


Clauses and Errors                                                                               

A clause is a group of related words that has both a subject and a predicate.

An independent clause expresses a complete thought and can stand alone as a sentence.

                                I am ready to face the firing squad.



A subordinate clause [also known as a dependent clause] does not express a complete thought and cannot stand alone.

                                Although I continue to assert my innocence. 


A run-on sentence occurs when two sentences are fused with inadequate punctuation or lack an appropriate conjunction.

                                I thought the ride would never end my eyes were crossed my fingers were numb.



A rambling sentence is one that goes on and on.  Often it is the result of overuse of the conjunction and.

The intruder entered silently through the window and moved down the corridor and under a stairwell and stood waiting in the shadows.



A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are hooked or spliced together with only a comma. 

The crowd had been waiting in the hot sun for two hours, many of the people were beginning to show their impatience by clapping and hollering.


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