Sentence Parts

Hello, Write Owls. Welcome to Day Three of Grammar 110. Today we’re talking about sentence parts.

Sentences can be broken up into several different parts. There are subjects, predicates, and objects in addition to different types of phrases and clauses.

Subjects are always a noun, pronoun, or a group of words that function as a noun. Sentences can have one or more subjects. Sometimes the subject is an implied “you” like in imperative sentences. The subject is whoever is doing the action of the sentence.


I love writing. (I is the subject.)

Clean your room. (The implied you is the subject.)

My friend and I like watching movies. (The compound subject is my friend and I.)

Swimming is a fun activity. (Swimming is the subject. In this case a verb is functioning as a noun.)

Predicates are the main verb (and any helping verbs) in the sentence.


I love writing. (Love is the predicate.)

My friend and I like watching movies. (Like is the predicate.)

Swimming is a fun activity. (Is is the predicate.)

I must have straight A’s to keep my merit scholarship. (Must have is the predicate.)

Objects are other nouns that may show up in sentences. They can be direct, indirect, or the object of a preposition. While subjects and predicates are mandatory in sentences, objects are not.


I love writing. (Writing is the direct object. It receives the verb’s action.)

My friend and I like watching movies. (Watching movies is a group of words that serves as a noun. They are the direct object.)

I wrote him a poem. (Poem is the direct object. I didn’t write him. Him is the indirect object.)

I live in an apartment. (Apartment is the object of the preposition in.)

Swimming is a fun activity. (Activity is not an object. Linking verbs like is don’t have objects. They have predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives. Since activity is a noun, it is a predicate nominative.)

They are nice. (Nice describes they and follows a linking verb, so it is a predicate adjective.)

Phrases are groups of words that work together to function as a part of speech. They are never complete sentences, which means they lack either a subject or a predicate. There are five different types of phrases.

The first is a verb phrase, which is a group of verbs.


I have been writing my whole life. (The verb phrase is “have been writing”.)

I will be going to university in the fall. (The verb phrase is “will be going”.)

The next type is infinitive phrases. This is when a verb is combined with to. A verb infinitive functions as a noun.


I like to write. (The verb infinitive to write serves as the direct object of the sentence.)

My goal is to write novels for a living. (The verb infinitive to write and the noun novels are the infinitive phrase. The phrase serves as a predicate nominative.)

The next type is participial phrases. They are verbs that serve as adjectives.


The recently dug well provides clean water to the village. (The participial phrase is recently dug, which describes well.)

Strolling casually, they admired the park’s beauty. (The participial phrase is Strolling casually, which describes they.)

The next type is an appositive phrase, which serves as an adjective. The difference between it and a participial phrase is that an appositive doesn’t have a verb in it.


My friend Ben is a singer. (Ben is the appositive phrase, and it describes friend.)

Julie, my neighbor, is moving. (The appositive phrase is my neighbor, which describes Julie.)

The final type is a prepositional phrase. Prepositional phrases include prepositions and their object(s). They often tell us where or when something happens. They can also describe things.


I put the book back on the shelf. (The prepositional phrase is on the shelf, and it tells us where I put the book.)

I cried during the movie. (The prepositional phrase is during the movie, and it tells us when I cried.)

The car with the bright green paint ran a red light. (The prepositional phrase is with the bright green paint, and it describes car.)

Clauses are groups of words that have both a subject and a verb. They can be independent or dependent.

Independent clauses are full sentences and can stand by themselves.


I like reading and writing. (I is the subject, and like is the predicate.)

I like writing, so of course I love to read. (I is the subject and like is the predicate of the first independent clause. The second independent clause is “of course I love to read.” The subject is I, and the predicate is love.)

Dependent clauses are not full sentences by themselves. They can serve as adjectives, adverbs, and nouns.


Even though I love reading, I haven’t read any books this week. (“Even though I love reading” is the dependent clause. It is not a sentence by itself even though it has a subject, I, and a verb, love. It is an adverb clause because it starts with a subordinating conjunction.)

The dog that stole my newspaper ran down the street. (The dependent clause is “that stole my newspaper”. The subject is that, and the verb is stole, butit is not a sentence on its own. It is an adjective clause because it describes dog.)

Whoever you bring to dinner is welcome. (The dependent clause is “Whoever you bring”. It is a noun clause because whoever you bring is the subject.)

Those are all the different sentence parts. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments down below, and I will answer them either as a reply or in the Q&A on Saturday. If you don’t know what the different parts of speech are (noun, verb, adverb, conjunction, etc.), check back tomorrow for a lesson on those.

For practice, see if you can identify the subject, predicate, and object (if applicable) of each of these sentences. Also determine what the independent clause is and what the function of the dependent clause is if there is one. Look for phrases, too. You can leave your answers in the comments if you want, and I will check them.

1. My friend Sam is a great athlete who competes in three different sports.

2. Even though I ran across the parking lot, I was still late to the meeting because traffic in the city was terrible.

3. The newly built hospital wing that I fundraised for is the talk of the town.

4. Despite being busy with school, my younger sister Lisa has been writing novels for ten years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: