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Level 2: Parts of the Sentence

A.K.A. Handling COMPLEMENTS


The Magic Lens
by Michael Clay Thompson

The SENTENCE
A group of words that
contains a SUBJECT
and its PREDICATE,
and makes a
COMPLETE
THOUGHT.
For Example:
Ratrug and I put
crayons on the
radiator.

Etymology of Sentence
The word sentence comes from the
Latin sententia, meaning way of
thinking, or opinion.
That etymology is appropriate because a
sentence is the structure with which we
think about and communicate opinions
and ideas.

Parts of the Sentence


When we study the parts of the sentence,
we are studying the structure itself.
Sentences do not occur in nature; they are
thought, expressed.
Understanding how sentences are
thoughts can give us clarity of sentence,
clarity of paragraph, and clarity of thesis.

In order to say anything clearly, we


must say two things . . .
1st: We must say what we are talking
ABOUT.
2nd: We must say what we are saying
ABOUT IT.
Each thought must have these two things!

The SENTENCE gives the mind a


two-piece idea.
The two pieces are:
one
subject
What were talking
about.

two
predicate
What were saying
about it.

Complete Thoughts, Complete


Sentences

Check out these complete


sentences. Notice how they
express complete thoughts.

1. I cant imagine why anyone


would want to ride on top of a
Zamboni.
2. Ludwig bought a genuine
Zamboni just for that purpose.
3. Ludmilla melted the ice on
purpose.

1. The SUBJECT
The SIMPLE SUBJECT is the noun or subject
pronoun that the sentence is about.
Example: Eggworthy

The COMPLETE SUBJECT includes the simple


subject and all its modifiers.
Example: The excellent Eggworthy

The COMPOUND SUBJECT is a double subject:


more than one noun or pronoun used as the
subject of the same clause.
Example: The excellent Eggworthy and his assistant, Grusilda

2. The PREDICATE
The PREDICATE is the side of the sentence that
says something about the subject.
The SIMPLE PREDICATE is the verb.
Example: Eggworthy scrambled.

The COMPLETE PREDICATE is everything that


is said about the subject.
Example: Eggworthy scrambled the bowl of eggs for a ham, swiss,
and eggplant omelet.

The COMPOUND VERB may be taken by the


subject of a sentence.
Example: Eggworthy scrambled the bowl of eggs and flipped the
bacon.

The SENTENCE and its COMPLEMENTS

Speeding down the grammar highway, the


sentence is a flatbed truck carrying meaning
to the reader. The VERBS are the wheels,
and the SUBJECT is the driver.

Complements are the common, not-alwaysessential parts of the truck perhaps the
odometer or the turn signals.

These words are a little more important than


the fuzzy dice some people hang from their
rearview mirrors or bumper stickers declaring
I stop at railroad tracks.

You can sometimes create a sentence


without complements, but their presence is
generally part of the driving
(COMMUNICATING) experience.

3. Receiving the Action:


Direct Objects

A noun or object pronoun that


receives the action of the
action verb.
Example: Griselda kissed the giant frog.

When there is a direct object,


we call the action verb
TRANSITIVE.
When the action verb does not
act on a direct object, we call
the action verb
INTRANSITIVE.
The direct object answers the
question WHAT.

Direct Object PRACTICE!


Read each sentence. Circle the subject-verb pair. Underline the direct
object.
1. The defective X-Ray machine took strange pictures of the giant frog.
2. Legghorn hissed the secret word in the middle of the graduation
ceremony.
3. Green marking pens draw naturally
beautiful lines.
4. Leroys laser printer spurted ink all over
his favorite shirt.

S-AV-DO
You may be able to recognize
direct objects more easily if you
think of them as part of a pattern
in the sentence structure
subject (S) action verb (AV) direct object
(DO)

For Example:
machine took pictures
Legghorn hissed word
pens draw lines
printer spurted ink

Of course, just to make your life


a little bit harder . . .
. . . a sentence can have more than one DO.
Check out these examples:
1. Algernon bought posters and books for his
many admirers.
2. Ratrug will buy a dozen doughnuts and a few
slabs of cheesecake for her breakfast.
3. Lochness sent spitballs and old socks flying
across the room.
4. Ludmilla bought orange juice, tuna, aspirin, and
a coffee table.

4. Rare, but Sometimes There:


Indirect Objects
A noun or object pronoun that is indirectly
affected by the action verb, and that is
located between the action verb and the
direct object. The structure is:

S-AV-IO-DO
If there is an indirect object, there MUST
be a direct object, so the action verb is
transitive.

Indirect Object PRACTICE!


Read each sentence. Circle the subjectverb pair. Underline the direct
object once. Underline the indirect
object twice.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Gruhilda will tell me the whole story


tomorrow.
Murgatroyd promises Lulu
everything.
As a grammarian, I should have
given you better sample sentences.
Ludmilla radioed Ludwig a tart
message.
The crooked politician,
Polyphemus, offered Agnes a bribe
for dropping out of the crazy
campaign.

5. Finishing the Equation:


Subject Complements
A noun, subject pronoun, or adjective that
is linked to the subject by a linking verb
and tells more about the subject.
A predicate nominative is a subject
complement that is a noun or subject
pronoun.
A predicate adjective is a subject
complement that is an adjective.

Subject Complement PRACTICE!


Read each sentence. Circle the subjectverb pair. Underline the subject
complement.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Nerdo is upset by the bankruptcy of


the pocket protector manufacturer.
Gruhilda was a cheerleader before
the dog bite incident.
Nasalhoff should have been head of
the allergy committee.
The little orange book will be
sufficient for all of your firework
information.
It is I, the master of the universe.

The Logic of Sentence Analysis


1. Find the subject/predicate set.
2. Is the verb ACTION or LINKING?
3. If the verb is ACTION, then
Do NOT look for a subject complement.
Look for a direct object.
If you find a direct object, then
look for an indirect object.
4. If the verb is LINKING, then
Do not look for a direct object.
Look for a subject complement.

Pop the Question:


Locating the Complement
1. Flossie maintains the
cleanest teeth in Texas.
2. The ancient lawn gnome
appeared worn and tired.
3. Mildred will tell me the
secret shortly.
4. Sasquatch seemed soggy
after his semi-final swim,
so we gave him a towel.
5. The babbling burglar told
her everything.

Common Linking Verbs


AM

IS

WAS

WERE

BE

BEING

BEEN

SEEMS

FEELS

BECOME

Works Cited
Thompson, Michael Clay. The Magic Lens Volume 3 Teacher Manual.
Unionville: Royal Fireworks Press, 2003.
Woods, Geraldine. English Grammar for Dummies. New York: Hungry
Minds, Inc., 2001.