Grammar Basics: The Simple Sentence

Today, and for the next few weeks, I am going back to basics and giving you short tutorials on some important grammar basics. These basics are important because they lay the foundation for writing well. And, because it is the most fundamental to writing, we are starting with simple sentences.

Grammar Basics: Simple Sentences

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

First of all, what is a sentence?

A sentence is a set of words that have been brought together into a complete thought. A sentence is also called an independent clause because it can stand on its own.

At it’s very minimum, a sentence must have a noun (a person, place, thing or idea that does an action) and a predicate (a verb that expresses an action or being).

For example: “Janet writes.” or “Pat types.” (These sentences are only two words but they both contain complete thoughts – along with one noun – Janet and Pat – and one predicate – writes and types.)

Of course, most sentences are longer and have several words in them such as prepositional phrases or complements, even simple sentences.

The Simple Sentence

There are several types of sentences: simple sentences, compound sentences, complex sentences, and compound-complex sentences. In this post we will focus on simple sentences.

The simple sentence contains only ONE independent clause.

For example: “Frank reads.” (As the above, this is as simple as it gets.)

For example:  “Frank reads a book.” (This sentence is a simple sentence because it contains one complete thought even though it includes a direct object (book).

For example: “Frank returned the book to the book shelf.” (This sentence is a bit longer but it is still a simple sentence because it only contains one complete thought. Frank – noun, returned – predicate, the – article adjective, book – direct object, to the book shelf – prepositional phrase.)

The simple sentence is just that – simple. Things get a little more complicated when we get involved with the other types of sentences and next week we are going to talk about compound sentences.

Next Steps

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