Sentence Structure

A sentence is a group of words that (a) contains at least one subject and one verb
and (b) expresses a complete thought.
There are four kinds of sentences in English: simple sentences, compound
sentences, complex sentences, and compound-complex sentences. First, Jet's Jearn
about simple sentences.

A simple sentence has one subject-verb pair. The subject tells who or what
did something. The verb tells the action (jump, work, think) or condition (is,
was, seem, appear).
eg. Filmmaker George Lucas has changed the film industry in many ways .
.----s r v l
One new technology was a special computer-assisted camera crane.

A simple sentence can have one of several possible "formulas." Here are four
possibilities. The subject(s) in each sentence are underlined with one line. The
verb(s) are underlined with two lines.
                                                                                           Sentence "formula"
1 . The Star Wars movies were international hits.                   s v
2. Young people and adults enjoyed them.                             s s v
3. The films entertained and thrilled audiences everywhere.      s v v
4. Luke Skywalker and his friends battled evil and made         s s v v
us laugh at the same time.

Notice that the subject in a simple sentence may have two or more items (sentences
2 and 4). The verb may have two or more items (sentences 3 and 4) . These are all
simple sentences because there is only one subject-verb pair.

Subject-Verb Agreement

You already know that subjects and verbs agree in number.
    My sister is married. (singular)
    My sisters are married. (plural)
    My brother and I are single. (plural)

Subject-verb agreement is sometimes confusing in the following situations.
 1 . When a sentence begins with the word there + the verb be, the subject
follows the be verb. Look ahead to see whether to use a singular or plural
    There is a student in the hall. (The verb is is singular to agree with a
    There are three students in the hall. (The verb are is plural to agree with
    three students.)
    There was no reason for his action.
    There were many reasons for his success.

2 . A prepositional phrase (a group of words beginning with a preposition
such as of, with, in, at, or on and ending with a noun or pronoun) can
come between a subject and its verb. Prepositional phrases may come
after a subject, but they are not part of the subject. You should mentally
cross them out when you are deciding if the verb should be singular
or plural.
    One (of my sisters) is a singer. (The subject is one, not sisters.)
    The color (of her eyes) changes when she is angry. (The subject is
    color, not eyes.)
    Six kinds (of rice) are available in the grocery store. (The subject is
    kinds, not rice.)

3 . Some words are always singular.
   One (of my brothers) is a musician.
    Neither (of my parents) is living.
    Much {of my time) is spent in the library.
   Each {of my brothers) wants his own car.
    Either (of my sisters) is able to baby-sit for you tonight.
   Nothing ever happens in my life.
   Is anyone home?

4. A few words are always plural.
    Both {of my parents) are teachers.
   Several (of the teachers) speak my language.
   Many {of my friends) work in the library.

5 . A few words can be either singular or plural. In these cases, you must refer
to the noun in the prepositional phrase.
    Some {of the money) was missing. (singular)
   Some (of the students) were missing. (plural)
   All {of my time) is spent in the library. (singular)
   All {of my brothers) are singers. (plural)
   Most {of the ice) was melted. (singular)
   Most {of the ice cubes) were melted. (plural)
   A lot {of the work) was too easy. (singular)
   A lot {of the people) were angry. (plural)
   None {of the fruit) is fresh. (singular)
   None {of the apples) are fresh. (plural)

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