How To Write A Sentence

In order to become a really great writer, you must know the basics. Where do we start? That's right, with learning how to write a sentence. Do you know how to write a complete sentence? You may think you do, but if you are constantly getting your papers returned to you with FRAG (framents)then you may need a refresher.

It may sound silly but many native speakers do not know the basic rules of grammar. You may find this hard to believe, but trust me it's true. Native speakers are unconsciously making sure that each sentence has a verb and a subject. The crazy thing is they don't even know they are doing it.

Here are some basic tips on how to write a sentence:

  • Basic rule of sentences: Every sentence must have a subject AND a verb. If it does not, it is not a complete sentence. We will look at incomplete sentences later. First, lets look at some english grammar exercises:
  • Example: I ate the lemon pie. ("I" is the subject of the sentence and "ate" is the verb).

Keep in mind that the verb is the action of the sentence and the subject is the noun, and it also answers the question who, what, where, or when.

  • In a sentence, the subject and verb are always next to each other(unless asking a question).
  • Example: Sara ate the lemon pie. ("Sara is the subject. She answers the question "who" and ate is the verb or action of the sentence).

Once you have a subject and a verb in every sentence, you know it is a complete sentence. This will prevent you from getting those "FRAG" (fragment) comments on your papers.

Then you can smile like this!

happy writing face

This seems easy enough right? Do you think you know how to write a sentence now? Let's look at some more examples.

Sometimes you may see a question that asks you find the predicate. Don't freak out! A "predicate" is just another word for a verb. This term is used because sometimes a verb can be more than one word.

Let's look at some examples below.

Example: I have eaten the lemon pie. (As before, "I" is the subject of this sentence. However, "have eaten" is the predicate or verb. See below to get a better understanding)

Example: I want to eat the lemon pie. ("to eat" is only part of the verb. The verb has to also include the word "want" because it describes the desire to eat. Thus, the verb is "want to eat." In this case, the verb cannot stand alone).

Remember that if any sentence is missing a subject or a verb, it is not a sentence. Instead , it is called a fragment or "FRAG" as most teachers note on papers.

Examples of fragments:

1) Ate the chocolate cake. (missing the subject)

2) Eating the chocolate cake. (missing the subject)

3) Sara the groceries from the store. (missing the verb)

abc's of writing

Now that you have learned or reviewed the ABC's of how to write a sentence, lets see how well you have retained the information. Here are some english grammar exercises for you to try.

Mark if each sentence is "C" complete or "I" incomplete.

1) It was a dark and stormy night.

2) I hate going to school in the rain.

3) Swam four laps in the pool today.

4) Rob only two kids.

5) Sara and Neil poured the drinks for the guest.

Did you get the correct answers? Scroll down for the answer key.

Answer key: 1)C 2)C 3)I 4)I 5)C

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