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THE SENTENCE

A sentence is a group of words expressing a complete thought :

Birds sing.
Bees make honey.
Lead is heavier than iron.

George Washington was often called the Father of his Country.

A sentence is composed of two parts: the subject and the predicate.

The subject is that part of a sentence about which something is asserted. The first word in each of the examples above is the subject.

Exercise 24

Make complete sentences of the following by supplying subjects:

I.

2.

wrote a letter.
live in wigwams.
examined the records.
learned the amount of the loss.

3. 4.

The predicate is that part of a sentence that asserts something about the subject : Canaries sing.

Flowers bloom.

Exercise 25

I.

Make complete sentences of the following by supplying predicates :

Indians 2.

Birds 3. The house 4. A host of Indian warriors 5. The teacher

VERBS

The word used in a sentence to make an assertion is called a verb.

The verb is usually the simple predicate:
A single hay-cart creaks slowly down the dusty road.

COMPLETE PREDICATE

The verb and the words used with it to make a complete assertion are together called the complete predicate:

A single hay-cart creaks slowly down the dusty road.

SIMPLE SUBJECT

The name of the thing about which the assertion is made is called the simple subject:

A single hay-cart creaks slowly down the dusty road.

COMPLETE SUBJECT

The simple subject and its modifiers taken together are called the complete subject:

A single hay-cart creaks slowly down the dusty road.

ORDER OF ELEMENTS

The foregoing examples illustrate the usual order of the English sentence; that is, the subject with its modifiers first, followed by the complete predicate. However, the subject is often placed in other positions:

In front of the building stand four large marble vases.
At sunrise we struck our tents.
Never before were our people so united.

To determine the subject of a verb, ask the question, who, or what, before the verb; as, What stand? Vases. Who struck? We. Who were united ? People.

To determine the subject and the predicate of an interrogative sentence (question), first change it to a statement :

Can man's endeavor chain the winged day?
Man's endeavor can chain the winged day.
What is the subject? What is the predicate?

VERB PHRASES

Two or more words used together in a sentence to make an assertion are called a verb-phrase:

We should have listened to him.
His course has been marked by prudence.

A verb-phrase consists of a principal verb and one or more helping words, called auxiliary verbs. The principal auxiliary verbs are be (with its various forms is, am, are, was, were), can, could, may, might, must, ought, shall, should, would, will, do, did, have, and had. Some of these may be used as principal verbs.

The parts of a verb-phrase may be separated by other words:

He might in one sense have been a judge of poetry.
Can a spider weave such a beautiful web?

Exercise 26

In each of the sentences in Exercise 5 point out the simple subject, the complete subject, the verb or verb-phrase, and the complete predicate.

Exercise 27

Tell whether the words in italics are nouns, adjectives, or verbs, and why. Tell what the adjectives modify:

1. He is an American, and glories in the right of the American citizen.

2. We searched each person.
3. Each obeyed instructions.
4. He is a fast runner.
5. How long did he fast?
6. That time is now passed.
7. That is all right.

8. If we while away our time, we shall not reach our journey's end for a long while.

9. Several times each day the shorthand teacher times her class.

He wore a light suit. II. We light the lamps at night. 12. The bright lights blind me. 13. I saw a blind man. 14. He sat by an open window. 15. We do not open the store at night. 16. The songs sound sweet. 17. The apple is sound. 18. I hear a strange sound. 19. Do not idle away your time. 20. An idle brain is the devil's workshop.

10.

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