Subjects and Objects in a Sentence
We will now look more closely at the ways in which words and phrases are grouped together and ordered within clauses and sentences to convey a particular meaning.
The main elements of sentences
To begin this section, we will, first of all, examine the two most vital parts of the clause structure and then move on to the other elements. Again, it will be useful to use a few examples to illustrate the grammatical ideas.
- He sneezed.
- Accidents happen.
- Speed kills.
- Yvonne left.
- Snakes crawl.
These clauses are all simple sentences consisting of only two words each. The first element in each sentence is called the Subject, while the second is the Verb. (Notice that I am using a capital letter here to talk about the verb as a clause element as opposed to the verb as a word class.) The Subject and the Verb are the minimum requirements for constructing a basic English clause (with the exception of directives like sit! and go!) and appear in that order in the vast majority of positive and negative statements. Although single words have been used to fill the Subject and Verb ‘slots’ in the examples above, much more complicated phrases can, of course, be made:
|The tall, dark stranger||was singing|
|The retail prices index||has been rising|
|Shouting and screaming in arguments||doesn’t help|
|The newly-arrived refugees||weren’t able to understand|
|Being rejected by work mates||hurts|
|The poor grasshopper||couldn’t sleep|