Back to Basics: Sentence Structure

It’s time for a quick grammar lesson! Down to the very atoms that creates the human language. Sentence structure! *Said in a loud booming voice*

I remember going over this topic when I was in school and it being seemingly pointless lesson throughout the entire class. We would probably spend half a class on it, because it was a state requirement, and it was a quick 100 for me. Though something I never learned how to do is making a sentence structure tree, and hopefully I’ll find a good grammar book that will help me learn that because for some reason I would just like to know how. But for this post we’ll go over the quick basics and when I figure out the tree thing I’ll add it on as a later post.

The Main Parts of a Sentence:

Subject – (Noun) That which forms a thought*

A subject is what/who the sentence is about and is normally in the perspective of the item causing the verb that is attached within the sentence. It is also written as a noun.

Verb – (Noun) Any member of a class of words that function as the main elements of predicates, that typically express action, state, or a relation between two things, and that may be inflected for tense, aspect, voice, mood,and to show agreement with their subject or object.*

A verb is the action that is taking place within the sentence, whether it has/is/will happen, as it is performed by the subject upon the object within the sentence.

Object – (Noun) A noun, noun phrase, or noun substitute representing by its syntactical position either the goal of the action of a verb or the goal of a preposition in a prepositional phrase*

This is the thing that the verb is being performed upon by the subject. Normally it is a noun, just like the subject so there are cases where the object and the subject are the same thing.

With these three components alone you can create a simple sentence, which we will go into later in the post. But as with any weapon in any RPG, the weapons of the writer could always use modifiers. Especially that of +10 complexity!

Adding Complexity to Your Sentences:

Adverb – (Noun) Any member of a class of words that function as modifiers of verbs or clauses.*

They add flavor to the verb you are using in the sentence. For the main part this modifier answers the question, ‘How was the action performed upon the object?’

Adjective- (Noun) Any member of a class of words that modify nouns and pronouns, primarily by describing a particular quality of the word they are modifying. *

For the adjectives they add spice and color to the subjects and objects within the sentence. This can pertain to color, shape, size, texture, all the fun stuff you can possibly include within your sentence.

Prepositional Phrase – (Noun) A phrase consisting of a preposition, its object, which is usually a noun or a pronoun, and any modifiers of the object. *

Prepositional phrases are usually the glue within the sentence. They ultimately create the connection between the subject, verb, and object.

How to Put it All Together:

With these six things you can create a sentence. Now it’s just time to re-arrange them into a proper sentence.

Simple Sentence

This is the sentence that includes the fewest number of parts as it contains one subject, verb, and object. Also here is the time when the object and subject can be the same thing. In it’s entirety it contains only one clause, that works on it’s own.

Compound Sentence

This sentence normally has double the parts of the simple sentence but instead of them being divided by a period, they are combined by using a conjunction (ex. and, but, like). On their own each one can be a simple sentence and make sense.

Complex Sentence

Like the compound sentence it has multiples of the subject, verb, and object parts of a sentence but they can’t be separated. Both won’t be able to make sense on their own, but one of them will. (Grammar death match?)

Compound Complex Sentence

This sentence is really a one two punch. Like the compound sentence this will have two parts of the sentence that are able to make sense without the other parts, but like the complex sentence there will be one part that has to be left behind.


And there you have it! There is the basic coverage on sentence structure. A 30 minute lecture covered in one small post! Later on this year I will be going in much deeper into grammar so keep an eye out! Also if there is a topic you would like me to cover this year, go to the Contacts page and send me an email! I’m always open to new ideas. 🙂 [Privacy Policy will still apply. Your name will not be mentioned without your consent.]

*Source of definitions from

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One thought on “Back to Basics: Sentence Structure

  1. Diagramming sentences was one of the funnest parts of English class! I taught my students how to do it (not something the North Carolina system included in the curriculum) and it really helped improve their grammar and writing.

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