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What Are Sentence Parts?

In English, the sequence of words is highly essential. As a result, it’s critical to understand and apply the numerous sentence pieces that make up the English sentence pattern.

These sentence components come in a variety of basic forms, which may be utilized to create more complicated sentences. These formats may be adjusted with the skill to offer the complexity of English.

This article will look into the different components of a sentence and give you a comprehensive guide to structuring and varying your sentences.

Phrases vs. Sentences

Phrases and sentences are made up of a combination of words and are frequent patterns in every language. 

A phrase is a combination of short or lengthy words that do not express a full notion.

A sentence is similarly a collection of words, but it expresses a whole notion. The major distinction between phrase and sentence is this.

What is a ‘phrase’?

A phrase, unlike a sentence, pertains to a group of words that make up a sentence.

A phrase cannot communicate a whole notion of meaning on its own, but it may be utilized to make up a sentence. 

Noun phrases, verb phrases, adjective phrases, adverb phrases, and other sorts of phrases exist. Let’s utilize two sorts of sentences for now. 

There are two types of phrases: noun phrases and verb phrases. 

Two Kinds of Phrases

Looking attentively, you’ll see that a noun phrase or a verb phrase alone does not communicate a whole meaning.

This is because it does not offer the reader enough information to appreciate the whole meaning.

What is a Sentence?

A sentence is a sequence of words that completes a notion by including a subject and verb (also known as a predicate). 

A subject and a verb are required in all sentences, although the majority contain more. 

Objects (direct and indirect), complements, phrases, and clauses are among the other potential elements of a sentence.

A sentence, like a phrase, is made up of words that communicate a full idea or notion.

The subject and verb are both present in a sentence. Let’s use the same example as before.

Sentence Example

This emphasizes how, since a sentence is made up of phrases, it delivers a comprehensive meaning. 

However, sentences are not usually constructed in this manner. This sample has the appearance of a simple phrase. 

There are, however, various types of sentences, including compound sentences, complicated sentences, and compound-complex sentences. The sentence in these categories is made up of a range of phrases.

Below is a summary of the differences in phrases and sentences:

These are a collection of words that do not convey a whole notion.These are expressed by a phrase, which is a combination of words.
There is no subject, predicate, or both in a sentenceBoth the subject and the predicate complete a sentence.
does not provide all of the necessary details regarding the subject or predicateThe subject and the predicate are both existing in a sentence
A phrase does not start with a capital letter and finishes with a period.A capital letter starts a sentence and concludes it with a full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark.

What are the Different Parts of a Sentence?

Every English sentence may be split down into a few phrases with distinct functions.

These duties involve describing the doer or beneficiary of action in a sentence as well as demonstrating the time, place, and manner in which it took place. 

Only five of these sentence parts (or clause functions) must be learned, which is good news for you. These include:

  • Subjects
  • Predicates
  • Objects
  • Adverbials
  • Complements


The subject of a sentence is one of the most crucial tasks of a phrase.

This is because, with the exception of imperatives, practically all sentences need specific subjects to be regarded as grammatical. Typical topics include:

  • the doer of the action
  • usually declarative sentences, before the predicator
  • with interrogative queries, following the auxiliary verb
  • it’s made up of nouns and noun phrases.


In many aspects, objects are identical to subjects, except that objects are usually:

  • the person who receives the verb’s action
  • following the predicate
  • it is made up of nouns and noun phrases.
  • classified as direct, indirect, and oblique


Predicate, like subjects, is required sentence parts inside a sentence.

Predicates are the places where the action takes place. They are verbs and verb phrases that describe what a person is doing or how he or she is feeling.

Predicates may be made up of one or more verbs (such as modal verbs, auxiliary verbs, and participles), and their tense, aspect, modality, and passive voice can all be changed.


Although adverbial phrases may give information about adjectives, other adverbs, prepositional phrases, and full sentences, their primary role is to add optional information to the main verb of an expression. 

Adverbials, in brief, enhance the meaning of these many word kinds by describing how, when, where, how frequently, and to what extent.


The complement is the last sentence part. While adverbials most typically employ adverbs to convey more (optional) information about a verb, complements use words, phrases, or clauses to change the subject or object of a given statement. 

This is usually accomplished by assigning a comparable label to the topic or object or by supplying additional information.

Functions of Each Sentence Part

Nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, pronouns, adverbs, conjunctions, and interjections are the eight components of speech that make up a phrase. 

A sentence, on the other hand, simply requires a subject (noun or pronoun) and a predicate to constitute a full idea (a verb). 

If you simply include one of these two elements, you will only have a grammatically incorrect sentence fragment. Let’s look at the many functions of each component:


To be grammatical, a sentence is made up of one or more clauses, each of which must have at least two sentence parts. Subjects (primarily made up of noun phrases) and predicates are the two functions (verb phrases). 

In general, the subject is the person who performs the verb’s action. As seen in the four instances below, it is also the person or object that the phrase is about:

  • These outcomes offer four sequences.
  • Tan (2021) disagrees with the theory.
  • Some teachers were uncertain about the curriculum.
  • The researcher failed to submit the proposal.

A subject is simple to recognize in declarative sentences (i.e., most sentences in English – see our linked article on sentence functions) since it is the noun phrase that occurs right before the primary verb:

The club membersarealways late.

The subject of a sentence is placed after the main verb or between the auxiliary verb and the main verb in interrogative (questioning) sentence types:

Are the club membersalways late?

In addition, there is no explicit subject appended to the phrase in the imperative (commanding) sentences. Instead, the expression’s topic is inferred rather than stated:

(Implied = the club members)Please comeon time.

What makes a Subject Noun Phrase?

Nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, pronouns, adverbs, conjunctions, and interjections are the eight components of speech that make up a phrase. 

A sentence, on the other hand, simply requires a subject (noun or pronoun) and a predicate to constitute a full idea (a verb). 

If you simply include one of these two elements, you will only have a grammatically incorrect sentence fragment.

The stressed and tired teachertaughtthe lessongraciously.
Some types of Filipino studentsprefer to completetheir degreeon time.

Clearly, noun phrases like these may be made up of a variety of non-noun word kinds.

When we dissect these two instances, we can see that each phrase has a variety of kinds (adjectives, conjunctions, determiners, and so on):

DeterminerAdjectiveConjunctionAdjectiveKey Noun
QuantifierNounPrepositionAdjectiveKey Noun
Sometypes ofFilipinostudents

While noun phrases are most usually used as subjects, this is not always the case.

Subjects may be produced in a variety of ways, ranging from single pronouns to whole phrases and clauses:

Subject Structures

PronounsShe loves to read classical literature.
Infinitive PhrasesTo pay attention is challenging for the students.
Gerund PhrasesReading is essential to hone your comprehension.
Relative ClausesThat you need this is crucial to our understanding.
ExpletivesIt is cloudy outside.

It really is evident that relying on a subject’s noun form for identification isn’t a reliable strategy.

Instead, students should recall the purpose of subjects in a sentence and how they are usually placed before the predicate verb phrase.

Can you have Long Subjects?

Many of you may also find the fact that topics may be of practically any length daunting (or fascinating).

Subjects might be as short as one word or as lengthy as a hundred words – or more!


The professor with the hat and light blue slacks who discovered dark matter and lived next door to me for a short while between 1999 and 2001 when I was a university freshman at Harvard is named Dr. Rizalito Tan.

While such lengthy themes may be difficult to comprehend, remember, or repeat, they are grammatically correct.

Long subjects like this are generally produced by mixing prepositional phrases (‘with the hat’) and relative clauses (‘who found dark matter’), which may make it easier for pupils to recognize them.

Structuring your thesis statementsThis research examines the effects of secondhand smoking on the vulnerable population.
Referencing diagrams or figuresThe table in Figure 4.5 clearly establishes the rapid growth of the population in Arkansas.
Elaborating or concluding resultsWhat these findings demonstrate is that smoking has a definite negative impact.
Citing opinionsTan (2002) clearly claims that this growth is likely due to local migration.
Defining, explaining, or implicationsBotany is a branch of science that studies plants, including their structure, characteristics, and biochemical activities. 
Presenting historical factsIN 1945, the fighting ceased when the second world war came to a conclusion.

Is Subject-verb agreement Necessary?

It’s critical to avoid making mistakes while constructing topics appropriately.

This entails accurately detecting a sentence’s required subject-verb agreement, ensuring that the subject and its associated verb agree in both person and number. 

“The instructor speaks four languages,” for example, would be spoken by native speakers, not “The teacher speaks four languages.”


The component of a sentence that alters the subject of a phrase or clause in any manner is called the predicate. 

The predicate describes what the subject is or does, as well as what happens to it.

Because the subject of a sentence is a person, place, or object, the predicate must include a verb that explains what the subject does. 

A modifier, an item, or a complement might also be included.

  • The simple predicate is a basic verb and a stand-alone.
  • The entire predicate is made up of the verb and all of the additional words that describe the activity.


  • Amy returned home to see her toys strewn throughout the room.
  • My mother likes preparing meals for us and serving us our favorite delicacies.  

What makes a Predicate?

These five categories each have a particular role inside the sentence and are referred to as phrase (or clause) functions in grammar literature.


A verb is a term that indicates an activity, such as thinking, speaking, doing, feeling, or being.

Its purpose is to demonstrate what activity the person is doing. The predicate does not exist if there is no verb.


  • learn
  • jumping
  • saying
  • exclaimed
  • feeling
  • being (is, are, were)

To-be Verbs

A “to-be” verb expresses a state of being. The person may or may not be doing any particular activity but rather is in a state of being.


  • The research is in the library.
  • Based on the findings, the chemicals were toxic.

Predicates may be made up of one or more verbs (such as modal verbs, auxiliary verbs, and participles), and their tense, aspect, modality, and passive voice can all be changed:

Simplegivegivenwill give
Progressivewas givingis givingwill be giving
Perfecthad givenhas givenwill have given
Perfect Progressivehad been givinghas been givingwill have been giving
Perfect Passivehad been givenhas been givenwill have been given
Perfect Progressive Passivehad been being givenhas been being givenwill have been being given

Can you have Long Predicates?

A predicate is a single word that indicates what is happening in a sentence. It’s used to explain what the sentence’s subject performs. 

The simple predicate, complex predicate, and full predicate are the three fundamental forms of the predicate.

Simple Predicate

The simple predicate just includes the verb and does not include any modifiers. Although the verb will always be a component of the predicate, there may be occasions when we simply consider the verb, resulting in the simple predicate. 

The object, additional ideas, concepts, or modifiers associated with the verb or the subject are unnoticed.


  • Sandy lives in Stockholm.
  • Yesterday, we presented our thesis to the panel.
  • The book fell on the floor.

Compound Predicate

Because the term compound refers to the merging of two elements, a compound predicate would need a conjunction to combine two verbs. 

However, the verbs should be performed by the same subject, or the subject should “share” the subject. 

We employ a compound predicate when we wish to make a phrase more interesting, add details, or express other ideas and concepts.

Merging acts into one phrase also helps to prevent the repetition of the topic.


  • The child was frantically rushing about and leaping over all of the barriers.
  • My family and I relocated to Louisiana last month and met new acquaintances.
  • The book shattered its spine as it tumbled off the table.

Complete Predicate

The part of the phrase that comprises the verb and all of its modifiers is called the entire predicate (whereas the simple predicate is only the verb). 

Modifiers affect the verb and describe how it affects the object and subject.

  • When I arrived home late, my father got enraged.
  • While waiting for its food, the tiger paced up and down in its cage.
  • I prepare supper and unwind in front of the television when I arrive home.


Objects, like subjects, are mostly made up of noun phrases. 

On the other hand, subjects come before verbs and are the ones who do the verb’s action; objects, on the other hand, come after the predicate and are the ones who receive the action. 

The emphasized features of our previous examples demonstrate this disparity in distribution:

  • These outcomes offer four sequences.
  • Tan (2021) disagrees with the theory.
  • Some teachers were uncertain about the curriculum.
  • The researcher failed to submit the proposal.

In reality, subjects and objects are so similar that they may easily be interchanged without affecting the syntax of a statement (just the meaning):

Sandywrotethe letter.
The teacherappreciatesthe students.
Some parentsmadethis bouquet.

Obviously, this is not always possible owing to logical and semantic flaws (for example, in the case below, a ‘letter’ cannot write a ‘Sandy’).

If you’re not sure which is which, check the pronouns. 

When used in object position, the subject pronoun ‘I’ is written as ‘me,’ just as ‘she’ is written as ‘her,’ when used after the verb:

Iwroteherthe letter.
Shegavemethe bag.

How do Objects Differ from Subjects?

Although there are some parallels between subject and object sentence parts, they are not the same.

For example:

  • the verb phrase is normally put before the subject, whereas the object is usually placed after it.
  • The doer of the verb’s action is normally the subject, whereas the recipient is usually the objective.
  • simple or complicated noun phrases are routinely used to create both subjects and objects.

On the other hand, subjects and objects are so similar that they may easily be exchanged without affecting the grammar — just the meaning. 

Obviously, this alternation is not always possible due to grammatical and logical problems:

Sandywrotethe letter.
The letterwroteSandy.

Because they are so similar, looking for any pronouns used to make them is a good method to distinguish a subject and an object apart (apart from checking their function). 

When the subject pronoun ‘I’ is in the object position, it is written as ‘me,’ just as ‘she’ becomes ‘her’ when put after the verb:

Iwroteherthe letter.
Shegavemethe bag.

Are Objects Usually Formed from Noun Phrases?

Objects are composed of basic noun phrases (such as determiner–noun pairs) and complicated noun phrases, much like subjects (by combining prepositional phrases and relative clauses). 

Students should be aware of objects that are made up of different sorts of phrases and sentences, as shown in the table below:

PronounsShe loves to read it.
Infinitive PhrasesWe are expecting you to pay attention.
Gerund PhrasesStudents need to hone their reading skills.
Relative ClausesChloe offered her what he needed.

What are the Different Types of Objects?

The table below also displays three forms of object sentence parts. 

  1. Direct Objects are the nouns that receive the action of a verb.
SubjectPredicateDirect Object
Iwrotethe letter.
Shegavethe bag.
  1. Indirect Objects are the beneficiaries of the action of a verb.
SubjectPredicateIndirect ObjectDirect Object
Iwrotehimthe letter.
ShegaveKevinthe bag.
  1. Oblique Objects are forms of objects that follow a preposition: ‘to’ or ‘for.’
SubjectPredicateIndirect ObjectDirect ObjectOblique Objects
ShegaveKevinthe bagfor USD 300.00
SubjectPredicateDirect ObjectOblique ObjectOblique Object
Shegavethe bagto Kevinfor USD 300.00

Note: Although objects are an optional component of a grammatical sentence (at least when employing an intransitive verb), an academic essay in English would be difficult to write without them.


  • The board funded USD 20,000 for the research.
  • The findings of the experiment profited our group more than the others.
  • The researchers took almost two years to formulate the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Around 2,500 people from 56 different nations took part in the trial.


Adverbials, on the other hand, are the one sentence part in English that is almost always optional.

The sentences without adverbials in the following collection of phrases are nevertheless accurate and well-formed, even if part of the meaning is lost:

My mother now cooks Japanese cuisine well.

Mateo responded to the teacher in French.
My mother now cooks Japanese cuisine.

Mateo responded to the teacher.

How are Adverbials Formed?

The easiest approach to spot an adverbial is to remember that its primary purpose is to add optional information to the expression’s main verb. 

Adverbials, in summary, enhance the meaning of a verb by conveying how, when, where, how frequently, or to what degree it occurs – generally via the use of adverbs. 

The following examples show this in action, with the verb being changed in [square brackets] and the adverbial bold:

How?My mother cooks well.
When?My mother is cooking Japanese food now.
Where?My mother is cooking in the kitchen.
How often?My mother cooks every day.
To what extent?My mother cooks with all of her heart.

Adverbials aren’t only made up of adverbs, and they don’t just provide information to verbs. 

Adverbials may be prepositional phrases or noun phrases, and they can provide information about adjectives, other adverbs, prepositional phrases, or whole sentences. 

In the four statements below, the element being changed has been put in bold, as in the last set of examples:

AdjectiveTheir findings are astonishing.
AdverbMy students are learning effectively.
Prepositional PhraseThe teachers are in the conference room.
ConjunctionUnless it rains, we are going to continue the program outdoors.

How are Adverbials Positioned in a Sentence?

Adverbials have a lot more flexibility of distribution than other sentence parts, which helps them stand out and makes them a little easier to spot. 

This implies they may change where they are in a sentence without violating the syntax or losing the meaning of the term. 

However, as the third phrase in the following examples demonstrates, not all options are grammatical, and some sound odder to native speakers than others:

  • Diligently, the students studied for the exams.
  • The students diligently studied for the exams.
  • The students studied diligently for the exams.
  • The students studied for the exams diligently.

Notice how a comma (,) has been put after the adverbial ‘very carefully’ and before the subject ‘the pupils’ in the first phase, indicating that certain patterns need a modification in the punctuation of the clause. 

It’s also worth noting that type 1-3 adverbials may shift from their place following the verb’s direct object. However, type 4 adverbial complements can’t.


Complements are nouns that come after the verb in predicates that utilize linking verbs rather than action verbs. 

Nouns, noun phrases, pronouns, and adjectives may all be used as complements.

Subject complements, also known as predicate nominatives, extend the description of the subject.

Is it Easy to Recognize Complements?

You must learn how to detect and appropriately create complements in your own writing since complements are part of a sentence that cannot be eliminated from their expression (unlike an adverbial). 

Complements, thankfully, are pretty easy to recognize if we grasp their purpose and structure.

However, these are usually employed adjectives to change the subject or object of a given statement, while adverbials use adverbs to offer more (optional) information about a verb.

Winston is.Winston is a retired principal.
Jensen is.Jensen is married.
The teacher registered the student.The teacher registered the student immediately.

The syntax and meaning of the sentence are also damaged or incomplete when the bold complement is removed from the clause, as these examples demonstrate. 

As a result, complements might be regarded required functions inside a sentence, much like other sentence parts in English (excluding adverbials).

What are Different Kinds of Complements?

In English, there are two sorts of complements: subject and object.

If you’ve read our quick primer on topics and objects, you should already be aware of the following:

  • the verb phrase is normally put before the subject, whereas the object is usually placed after it
  • the doer of the verb’s action is normally the subject, whereas the recipient is usually the object
  • simple or complicated noun phrases are routinely used to create both subjects and objects
Predicate NominativePredicate Adjectives
Winston is a retired principal.Lyra is graceful.
Rizalito named our child Sikabay.Rizalito is well-loved.

These examples demonstrate how subject and object complements may be classified into two secondary categories depending on their purpose. 

Summary Table of Sentence Parts

PartsExplanation of FunctionExamples
SubjectThe component of a sentence that informs who or what the statement is about is referred to as the subject.Reading is my favorite leisure activity.The character of the novel is very interesting.
PredicateThis usually uses an action verb to describe the subject or a connecting verb and a complement to convey what the subject does.Reading is my favorite leisure activity. The character of the novel is very interesting.
Direct ObjectThe elements that the verb is acting on.Toni wrote the short story for Anna.
Indirect ObjectIt contains additional details about the person or object to whom the action is addressed. They respond to inquiries that begin with the word who.Toni wrote the short story for Anna.
AdverbialsIt changes verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs, whereas noun and pronoun modifiers alter nouns and pronouns.The examination went well today.
ComplementsNouns, noun phrases, pronouns, and adjectives may all be used as complements.I am a student of an international school.

Are Sentence Parts Challenging for Students?

Sentence parts can be challenging for the students, and knowing that each phrase needs a subject and a verb can help you construct grammatically complete sentences in your writing. 

Complements, adverbials, and other modifiers may be used to add interest to a sentence.

Don’t use too many in the same sentence to avoid confusing run-on sentences. Hence, here are some faulty structures to avoid.

Rule 1: Make sure you know when to use a comma before “and.”

Writers often wonder whether they need to use a comma before “and.” (Other conjunctions such as “but” and “or” have the same response.) Compound predicates play a key role in the solution to this issue. 

Take a look at these two phrases that are appropriately punctuated:

  • Casper is very intelligent and hardworking.
  • Casper is very intelligent and he is hardworking.

Rule 2: When you require a predicate adjective, don’t use an adverb.

Both of the phrases below are accurate.

The two verbs (in bold) are linking verbs, and “breakthrough” and “well-organized” are predicate adjectives in both situations.

  • Your research is a breakthrough.
  • Your research looks well-organized.

Writers may feel compelled to employ an adverb with certain connecting verbs because they know that adverbs, not adjectives, modify verbs. It’s a mistake to use an adverb to finish a connecting verb. 

Exercises Using Sentence Parts

Rearrange the words below to make coherent statements.

  1. was a From fluctuation temperature. there to 2005 in 1999 slight the 
  2. recorded 1994. 18 in degrees weather station temperatures of The 
  3. were Temperatures recorded 1994. in 18 degrees of 
  4. UK. been in There aging has the steady in population growth the 
  5. peak reached tickets a in The of 2004 theatre price 
  6. has Council made number the Town to changes of The the of layout a roads. noticeable 
  7. rise dramatically oil of price The is expected to 
  8. from rose and to it again. slightly fluctuated From 2006 2005 it 1999 dramatically 
  9. theatre The tickets price 2004 a peak in of reached

Determine whether the underlined is a direct object or an indirect object.

  1. She wrote an email to a buddy.
  2. Sally will assist you with your household chores.
  3. What happened to the keys?
  4. He handed them a large sum of money in a bag.
  5. Alice is the author of a book on the French Revolution.
  6. I need your assistance.
  7. He presented her with a flower.
  8. My father purchased a new television for us.
  9. I bought John’s automobile from him.
  10. I wish you the best of luck.

In the following phrases, find the verb, subject complement, direct object, indirect object, and object complement.

  1. George is the captain of the ship.
  2. The decision was made by the judge.
  3. My sister seemed to be concerned.
  4. Parents should treat their children with kindness.
  5. Our tea was served to us by Mother.
  6. The officer interrogated him for many minutes.
  7. Please accept our greetings.
  8. We must maintain a clean environment.
  9. I’ve received a PC from my aunt.
  10. Martin was voted as the class’s monitor.
  11. The host was pleased with our stay.
  12. This is a fascinating book.


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