ABE English Tutorials/Simple Sentences/Introduction to a sentence

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Introduction to Sentence

Tutorial.png Simple Sentences 

Intro to writing skills | Intro to a sentence | Helping verbs | Adding modifiers | Kinds of sentences | Writing simple sentences | Finding objects and phrases | Here and There | Spelling: Part 1 | Spelling List 1 | Writing with objects and phrases | Verbs that change with Number | Verbs that change with Time | Irregular Verbs | Verb Participles | Writing with verb tenses | Compound Subjects | Subject-Verb Agreeement | Understanding sentence lists | Sentence Fragments | Writing sentence lists | Review for Unit 1 |

nouns = labels

If you have ever listened to babies learning to talk, you probably know that the first words they use are things. They are putting labels on the things they see and recognize. Words which are things are called nouns. Just look around the room for a minute. Every thing you can see, touch, hear, or smell is a noun, for example, a

  • chair
  • desk
  • computer
  • dog
  • noise or
  • some sausages.

Persons, places, and ideas are all nouns, too. For instance, your name, the place where you were born, ideas such as democracy, beauty, religion, frailty, unionization are all nouns.

Actually, any word that you can put the word "a" or "the" in front of, is a noun.

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What is a noun? Give two examples of a noun

Verb = action

A label by itself conveys no thought or idea. The name "Jacob" by itself communicates nothing. In order to create a whole idea, that is, form a complete sentence, the noun has to be doing something. The "doing something" part is called a verb. The "doing something" is the action of the sentence.

Verbs are words that tell what someone does, such words as

  • run
  • jump
  • chew
  • sew
  • knit
  • stand
  • eat
  • listen
  • drink
  • sit

and many many more

Sentence = a complete idea or thought

A noun and a verb together, "Jacob sat" for instance, convey an idea, (a simple one, but a complete idea, nevertheless).

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To communicate an idea, there has to be a noun and a verb. A noun and a verb together makes a sentence.

Let's try another one: see if you can pick out the subject and the verb in this picture [NEED a GRAPHIC] here, and put them together to make a simple, complete sentence.

Did you get something like this:

Subject: man Verb: is sitting Sentence: The man is sitting.

Punctuation Pointer - When you are writing a sentence, always start your first word with a capital letter, and end the sentence with a period.

More about verbs

There are often many other words in the sentence besides the subject and the verb, but the verb is the only word (or words, in a compound verb) that tells what someone does.

Example: She carries her groceries from the store.
(What does she do? She carries. 'Carries' is the verb in this sentence.)

Example: They visited the park last week during the holiday.
(What did they do? They visited. 'Visited' is the verb in this sentence.) Look for the verbs in the following sentences. (The subjects have been bolded -- shown in "extra-black" text.)

Sandy runs around the park every day.
We went to Disneyland last spring.
Too many cooks spoil the soup.

Here are the answers:

runs, because 'run' is what Sandy does.
went, because 'went' is what we did.
spoil, because 'spoil' is what the cooks did.

The verb in a sentence must have a subject. The subject is the person, place or thing which is doing what the verb says. (Subjects are always nouns or pronouns, but not every noun is the subject of the sentence.) Look at these sentences:

1) Sharon shops at Walmart.
The verb is shops.
Now you have to ask yourself: who shops?
The answer is Sharon. Sharon is the one doing the shopping. So Sharon is the subject of this verb.
Note that Walmartis a noun, but it follows the verb and is called an object noun.

2) They always work very late.
The verb is work. Who works? They work. They (a pronoun) are the ones who work, so They is the subject.

See if you can find the subjects in the following sentences. (The verbs have been bolded.):

Kathy loves her cat.
He drove to Toronto.
The children never clean their rooms.

Ready for the answers?

Kathy is the subject, because Kathy is the one who loves.
He, because he is the one who drove.
The children, because the children are the ones who never clean.

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In this lesson, you've been introduced to nouns, subjects, verbs, and sentences. The homework for this lesson will help you (and your tutor) decide how well you understand what you've learned.

Have you noticed the little "mail" icon at the top of this page? If you're still having trouble understanding this lesson, click on this top icon to write an email note to the instructor. (Make sure that you tell the instructor what subject and what lesson you need help with!)

If you're ready for the homework, click here.