Update: 2009-05-24 04:54 PM +0800

TIL

TIL English Grammar

02. Parts of Sentence

c02Pts-Speech.htm

A compilation by U Kyaw Tun and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning, http://www.tuninst.net ). Not for sale.

In the United States, periods and commas go inside quotation marks regardless of logic.
In the United Kingdom, Canada, and islands under the influence of British education, punctuation around quotation marks is more apt to follow logic. In American style, then, you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design." But in England you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design".

 

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Contents of this page

02. Sentence
02.01. Parts of a sentence - definition
02.02. Subject and Predicate
02.02.01. Unusual Sentence
   Imperative sentences , A sentence that begins with "there"
02.02.02. Simple Subject and Simple Predicate
02.02.03. Compound Subject and Compound Predicate
02.03. Objects and Complements
02.03.01. Object
   Types of object
02.03.02. Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
02.03.03. Subject Complement
02.03.04. Object Complement
02.rev.01. Review: Subject
02.rev.02. Review: Predicate
02.rev.03. Review: Parts of Sentence

UKT notes
object rhetorical question sentence elements

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02. Sentence

UKT: This section is my edited version from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentence 081223 

In linguistics, a sentence is a grammatical unit of one or more words, bearing minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it, often preceded and followed in speech by pauses, having one of a small number of characteristic intonation patterns, and typically expressing an independent statement, question, request, command, etc. Sentences are generally characterized in most languages by the presence of a finite verb, e.g.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

UKT: A translation of the above sentence would read (other constructions are possible):

{lhying-mran-thau: mr-hkw: th pring:ri.thau: hkw: pau-mha. hkon-kyau-hk.th}

Components of a sentence

A simple complete sentence consists of a subject and a predicate. The subject is typically a noun phrase, though other kinds of phrases (such as gerund phrases) work as well, and some languages allow subjects to be omitted. The predicate is a finite verb phrase: it's a finite verb together with zero or more objects, zero or more complements, and zero or more adverbials. See also copula for the consequences of this verb on the theory of sentence structure.

Clause

A clause consists of a subject and a verb. There are two types of clauses: independent and subordinate (dependent). An independent clause consists of a subject verb and also demonstrates a complete thought: for example, "I am sad." A subordinate clause consists of a subject and a verb, but demonstrates an incomplete thought: for example, "Because I had to really move."

Classification of sentences

Sentences may be classified into two groups: by structure and by purpose.

The first group may be further classified by the number and types of finite clauses:

A simple sentence consists of a single independent clause with no dependent clauses.

A compound sentence consists of multiple independent clauses with no dependent clauses. These clauses are joined together using conjunctions, punctuation, or both.

A complex sentence consists of one or more independent clauses with at least one dependent clause.

A complex-compound sentence (or compound-complex sentence) consists of multiple independent clauses, at least one of which has at least one dependent clause.

Sentences of the second group can also be classified based on their purpose:

A declarative sentence or declaration, the most common type, commonly makes a statement:

The whacky, wanking wonks dangled the wangled USB dongle.

A negative sentence or negation denies that a statement is true:

I am not going home.

An interrogative sentence or question is commonly used to request information

When are you going to work?

but sometimes not; see rhetorical question.

An exclamatory sentence or exclamation is generally a more emphatic form of statement:
(UKT: Notice that this is not a question, and therefore there is no question mark at the end of the sentence.)

What a wonderful day this is!

Oh, what a beautiful mornin',
   Oh, what a beautiful day.
   I got a beautiful feelin'
   Ev'rything's goin' my way.
UKT: The above is my addition from a lyric in "Oklahoma" a musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. -- http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/oklahoma/ohwhatabeautifulmornin.htm 081224

An imperative sentence or command tells someone to do something:

Go to work at 7:30 tomorrow morning.

 

Major and minor sentences

A major sentence is a regular sentence; it has a subject and a predicate. For example:

I have a ball.
-- In this sentence one can change the persons: We have a ball.

However, a minor sentence is an irregular type of sentence. It does not contain a finite verb. For example, "Mary!" "Yes." "Coffee." etc. Other examples of minor sentences are headings (e.g. the heading of this entry), stereotyped expressions (Hello!), emotional expressions (Wow!), proverbs, etc. This can also include sentences which do not contain verbs (e.g. The more, the merrier.) in order to intensify the meaning around the nouns (normally found in poetry and catchphrases).

Sentences that comprise a single word are called word sentences, and the words themselves sentence words.

UKT: End of Wikipedia article.

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02.01 Parts of a sentence - definition

UKT: The following definition is from HyperGrammar (checked: 081213).
   My Google search (of 081213) found a Wikipedia article titled " Sentence elements" with noteworthy statements:
  Sentence elements are the groups of words that combine together to comprise the building units of a well-formed sentence. A sentence element approach to grammar assumes a top-down methodology. In other words, it starts with the sentence as a whole and then divides it into its functional components.
Sentence elements may be one of three forms: a (single) word, a phrase, a clause.

The parts of the sentence are a set of terms for describing how people construct sentences from smaller pieces. There is not a direct correspondence between the parts of the sentence and the parts of speech -- the subject of a sentence, for example, could be a noun, a pronoun, or even an entire phrase or clause. Like the parts of speech, however, the parts of the sentence form part of the basic vocabulary of grammar, and it is important that you take some time to learn and understand them.

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02.02. Subject and Predicate

Every complete sentence contains two parts: a subject and a predicate. The subject is what (or whom) the sentence is about, while the predicate tells something about the subject. In the following sentences, the predicate is italicized, while the subject is hilighted.

Judy runs .

Judy and her dog run on the beach every morning .

To determine the subject of a sentence, first isolate the verb and then make a question by placing "who?" or "what?" before it -- the answer is the subject.

The audience littered the theatre floor with torn wrappings and spilled popcorn.
-- The verb in the above sentence is "littered".  Who or what littered? The audience did. "The audience" is the subject of the sentence. The predicate (which always includes the verb) goes on to relate something about the subject: what about the audience? It "littered the theatre floor with torn wrappings and spilled popcorn".

 

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02.02.01. Unusual Sentences

Imperative sentences

Imperative sentences (sentences that give a command or an order) differ from conventional sentences in that their subject, which is always "you",  is understood rather than expressed.

Stand on your head.
-- "You"' is understood before "stand".

A sentence that begins with "there"

Be careful with sentences that begin with "there" plus a form of the verb "to be".  In such sentences, "there" is not the subject; it merely signals that the true subject will soon follow.

There were three stray kittens cowering under our porch steps this morning.
-- If you ask who ? or what ? before the verb ("were cowering"), the answer is "three stray kittens", the correct subject.

 

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02.02.02. Simple Subject and Simple Predicate

Every subject is built around one noun or pronoun (or more) that, when stripped of all the words that modify it, is known as the simple subject. Consider the following example:

A piece of pepperoni pizza would satisfy his hunger.

The subject is built around the noun "piece",  with the other words of the subject -- "a" and "of pepperoni pizza" -- modifying the noun. "Piece" is the simple subject.

Likewise, a predicate has at its centre a simple predicate, which is always the verb or verbs that link up with the subject. In the example we just considered, the simple predicate is "would satisfy" -- in other words, the verb of the sentence.

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02.02.03. Compound Subject and Compound Predicate

A sentence may have a compound subject -- a simple subject consisting of more than one noun or pronoun -- as in these examples:

Team pennants, rock posters and family photographs covered the boy's bedroom walls.

Her uncle and she walked slowly through the Inuit art gallery and admired the powerful sculptures exhibited there.

The second sentence above features a compound predicate, a predicate that includes more than one verb pertaining to the same subject (in this case, "walked'' and "admired'').

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02.03. Objects and Complements

02.02.01. Object

A verb may be followed by an object that completes the verb's meaning. Two kinds of objects follow verbs: direct objects and indirect objects. To determine if a verb has a direct object, isolate the verb and make it into a question by placing "whom?'' or "what?'' after it. The answer, if there is one, is the direct object:

The advertising executive drove a flashy red Porsche.
-- direct object

Her secret admirer gave her a bouquet of flowers.
-- indirect object
(UKT: I checked HyperGrammar on 081224, and it still gave the second sentence as "direct object". Since this is obviously incorrect, I have changed it to "indirect object".

The second sentence above also contains an indirect object. An indirect object (which, like a direct object, is always a noun or pronoun) is, in a sense, the recipient of the direct object. To determine if a verb has an indirect object, isolate the verb and ask to whom?, to what?, for whom?, or for what? after it. The answer is the indirect object.

Not all verbs are followed by objects. Consider the verbs in the following sentences:

The guest speaker rose from her chair to protest.

After work, Randy usually jogs around the canal.

Types of object

Written by UKT based on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object 081224. See Wikipedia article on object in my notes.

The previous section mentions two types of subjects, the direct and the indirect. However, the Wikipedia article gives three: the direct, the indirect and the prepositional .

Direct object answer the question "What?". While the indirect object answers the question "To whom?" or "for whom". An indirect object is the recipient of the direct object, or an otherwise affected participant in the event. So there must be a direct object for an indirect object to be placed in a sentence. For example, if three sentences are considered:

Direct object
We ate fruit .
-- fruit is the direct object of the verb ate. It corresponds to the accusative of languages with grammatical cases.

Indirect object
They sent him a postcard .
-- him is the (non-prepositional) indirect object of the verb sent (which uses a double-object construction). It typically corresponds to the dative case.

Prepositional object
We listened to the radio .
-- the radio is the object of the preposition to, and the prepositional object of the verb listened. It can correspond to a variety of cases and complements.

UKT: Since Burmese uses post-positions instead of preposition, we need to look at the corresponding Burmese sentence(s). The above English sentences have been directly translated into corresponding Burmese sentences :

We ate fruit. =
{nga-to a.thi: sa: hk.t}

They sent him a postcard . =
{thu-to. thu. htn ko pos-kaad po.leik t}

We listened to the radio . =
{nga-to. r-di-o ko na:htaung-t} -- with postposition {ko} 
or, {nga-to. r-di-o na:htaung-t}

At this point and time (081225), I will have to conclude that there is differentiation into direct and indirect objects, but no differentiation between indirect and postpositional objects. I am waiting for comments from my peers.

In many languages, including German, Latin, and Classical Arabic, objects can change form slightly (decline) to indicate what kind of object they are (their case). This does not happen in English (though a few English pronouns do have separate subject and object forms); rather, the type of object is indicated strictly by word order. Also, some objects are treated different from others in particular languages. In Spanish for example, human objects have to get a preposition 'a'. This is called differential object marking.

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02.03.02. Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Verbs that take objects are known as transitive verbs. Verbs not followed by objects are called intransitive verbs.

Some verbs can be either transitive verbs or intransitive verbs, depending on the context:

I hope the Senators win the next game. -- direct object

Did we win? -- no direct object

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02.03.03. Subject Complement

In addition to the transitive verb and the intransitive verb, there is a third kind of verb called a linking verb. The word (or phrase) which follows a linking verb is called not an object, but a subject complement.

The most common linking verb is "be". Other linking verbs are "become", "seem", "appear", "feel", "grow", "look", "smell", "taste",  and "sound", among others. Note that some of these are sometimes linking verbs, sometimes transitive verbs, or sometimes intransitive verbs, depending on how you use them:

Linking verb with subject complement :

He was a radiologist before he became a full-time yoga instructor.

Linking verb with subject complement

Your homemade chili smells delicious.

Transitive verb with direct object

I can't smell anything with this terrible cold.

Intransitive verb with no object

The interior of the beautiful new Buick smells strongly of fish.

Note that a subject complement can be either a noun ("radiologist", "instructor") or an adjective ("delicious").

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02.03.04. Object Complement

An object complement is similar to a subject complement, except that (obviously) it modifies an object rather than a subject. Consider this example of a subject complement:

The driver seems tired.

In this case, as explained above, the adjective "tired" modifies the noun "driver", which is the subject of the sentence.

Sometimes, however, the noun will be the object, as in the following example:

I consider the driver tired.

In this case, the noun "driver" is the direct object of the verb "consider", but the adjective "tired'' is still acting as its complement.

In general, verbs which have to do with perceiving, judging, or changing something can cause their direct objects to take an object complement:

Paint it black.

The judge ruled her out of order.

I saw the Prime Minister sleeping.

In every case, you could reconstruct the last part of the sentence into a sentence of its own using a subject complement: "it is black", "she is out of order", "the Prime Minister is sleeping".

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02.rev.01. Review: Subject

UKT: Review sections reformatted: questions, answers, and explanations.

Question: Try to determine the simple subject (disregarding any modifiers) in the following sentences, then check your answer to see if it was correct.

Q01. His terror of spiders kept him out of the dark basement.
Ans: "Terror" is the simple subject because it answers the question "what?" before the verb "kept". "Of spiders" and "his" are simply modifying the simple subject "terror".

Q02. There will be three concerts in the arts centre tonight.
Ans: "Concerts" is the simple subject because it answers the question "what?" before the verb "will be". Remember that "there" is merely signalling that the true subject will follow.

Q03. Would you willingly exchange half your intelligence for one million dollars?
Ans: "You" is the simple subject because it answers the question "who?" before the verb "would exchange".

Q04. Despite the storm's destructiveness, the ship, with its crew of amateurs, might have survived in more experienced hands.
Ans: "Ship" is the simple subject because it answers the question "what?" before the verb "might have survived". "With its crew of amateurs" is modifying the simple subject "ship".

Q05. After the movie, Emma and her brother bought a birthday present for their mother.
Ans: "Emma, brother" is the simple subject because it answers the question "who?" before the verb "bought". This sentence has a compound subject.

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02.rev.02. Review: Predicate

Question: Now, using the same sentences, identify the predicate.

Q01. His terror of spiders kept him out of the dark basement.
Ans: "Kept him out of the dark basement" is the predicate because it contains the verb "kept" and it tells us something about the subject, "his terror of spiders".

Q02. There will be three concerts in the arts centre tonight.
Ans: "There will be...in the arts centre tonight" is the predicate because it contains the verb "will be" and it tells us something about the subject, "three concerts".

Q03. Would you willingly exchange half your intelligence for one million dollars?
Ans: "Would ... willingly exchange half your intelligence for one million dollars" is the predicate because it contains the verb "would exchange" and it tells us something about the subject, "you".

Q04. Despite the storm's destructiveness, the ship, with its crew of amateurs, might have survived in more experienced hands.
Ans: "Despite the storm's destructiveness,...might have survived in more experienced hands" is the predicate because it contains the verb "might have survived" and it tells us something about the subject, "the ship, with its crew of amateurs".

Q05. After the movie, Emma and her brother bought a birthday present for their mother.
Ans: "After the movie,...bought a birthday present for their mother" is the predicate because it contains the verb "bought" and it tells us something about the subject, "Emma and her brother".

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02.rev.03. Review: Parts of Sentence

Question: Identify the hilighted word in each of the sentences below as:
a.simple subject, b.verb, c.direct object, d.indirect object, e.subject complement.

Q01. The old house on the hill gave Leonora chills and conjured up images of ghosts and monsters and other unknown beings.
Ans: The answer Simple Subject is correct.

Q02. Next to the china cabinet, Mrs. Wilkes placed a polished side table and an antique jug.
Ans: The answer Direct Object is correct.
Exp: "Table" is a direct object because it answers the question "what?" after the verb "placed".

Q03. Despite winning the lottery last week, my cousin still seems unhappy.
Ans: The answer Subject Complement is correct.
Exp: "Unhappy" is a subject complement because it follows the linking verb "seems" and complements the subject, "my cousin".

Q04. They gave the university a large endowment for the scholarship fund.
Ans: The answer Indirect Object is correct.
Exp: "University" is an indirect object because it answers the question "to what?" after the verb "gave". " A large endowment" is the direct object -- the thing that was given -- and the university is the recipient of the direct object.

Q05. Some experts believe it is easy to overstate the role that genes and heredity play in determining a person's predisposition to alcoholism.
Ans: Some experts believe it is easy to overstate the role that genes and heredity play in determining a person's predisposition to alcoholism.
Exp: ``Believe'' is a verb. It is connected to the subject ``some experts.''

Q06. After the luncheon buffet, she grew drowsy and decided to take a nap.
Ans: The answer Subject Complement is correct.
Exp: "Drowsy" is a subject complement because it follows the linking verb "grew" and complements the subject, "she".

Q07. I don't know how you can understand anything that professor says.
Ans: The answer Direct Object is correct.
Exp: "Anything" is a direct object because it answers the question "what?" after the verb "can understand".

Q08. There were no credits after the movie.
Ans: The answer Simple Subject is correct.
Exp: "Credits" is a simple subject because it answers the question "what?" before the verb "were". Remember that "there" is merely signalling that the true subject will follow.

Q09. His deaf aunt will be going to the symphony next week.
Ans: The answer Verb is correct.
Exp: "Going" is a verb (technically, it is actually a verbal). It is connected to the subject "his deaf aunt" and is supported by the auxiliary verbs "will be".

Q10. The company has been mailing George CD catalogues ever since he bought his stereo.
Ans: The answer Indirect Object is correct.
Exp: "George" is an indirect object because it answers the question "to whom?" after the verb "has been mailing". "CD catalogues" is the direct object -- the thing that has been mailed -- and George is the recipient of the direct object.

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UKT notes

object

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object 081224

An object in grammar is a sentence element and part of the sentence predicate. It denotes somebody or something involved in the subject's "performance" of the verb. As an example, the following sentence is given:

Bobby kicked the ball .
-- "ball" is the object, "Bobby" is the subject, the doer or performer, while "kick" is the action, and "ball" is the object involved in the action.

The main verb in the sentence determines whether there can or must be objects in the sentence, and if so how many and of what type. (See also Valency (linguistics).) In many languages, however, including English, the same verb can allow multiple different structures; for example, "Bobby kicked" and "Bobby kicked the ball" are both valid English sentences.

Types of object

Objects fall into three classes: direct objects, prepositional objects, and non-prepositional indirect objects. Direct object answer the question "What?". While the indirect object answers the question "To whom?" or "for whom". An indirect object is the recipient of the direct object, or an otherwise affected participant in the event. So there must be a direct object for an indirect object to be placed in a sentence. For example, if three sentences are considered:

In "We ate fruit", fruit is the direct object of the verb ate. It corresponds to the accusative of languages with grammatical cases.

In "They sent him a postcard", him is the (non-prepositional) indirect object of the verb sent (which uses a double-object construction). It typically corresponds to the dative case.

In "We listened to the radio", the radio is the object of the preposition to, and the prepositional object of the verb listened. It can correspond to a variety of cases and complements.

In many languages, including German, Latin, and Classical Arabic, objects can change form slightly (decline) to indicate what kind of object they are (their case). This does not happen in English (though a few English pronouns do have separate subject and object forms); rather, the type of object is indicated strictly by word order. Also, some objects are treated different from others in particular languages. In Spanish for example, human objects have to get a preposition 'a'. This is called differential object marking.

Forms of object

An object may take any of a number of forms, all of them nominal in some sense. Common forms include:

A noun or noun phrase :

I remembered her advice .

An infinitive or infinitival clause:

I remembered to eat.

A gerund or gerund phrase:

I remembered being there.

A declarative content clause :

I remembered that he was blond .

An interrogative content clause :

I remembered why she had left .

A fused relative clause :

I remembered what she wanted me to ."

The object in linguistics

In inflected languages [UKT: English and Pali are inflected languages, whereas Burmese is non-inflected - see Preface Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis by A. W. Lonsdale, Rangoon, 1899, p.roman03.], objects may be marked using morphological case. In many languages, the patient of a ditransitive verb is marked in the same way as the single object of a monotransitive verb, and is called the direct object. The recipient has its own marking, and is called the indirect object. In Latin and many other languages, the direct object is marked by the accusative case, while the indirect object is typically marked by the dative case.

In more isolating languages such as English, objects are marked by their position in the sentence or using adpositions (like to in I gave a book to him). Modern English preserves a case distinction for pronouns, but it has conflated the accusative and the dative into a single objective form (him, her, me, etc., which may function either as direct or indirect objects).

Examples of common Helping Verbs are these:
   is, am, are, was, were,
   be, been, being, may, must,
   might, should, could, would, shall,
   will, can, appear, become, became,
   feel, grow,
and look.

In some languages, the recipient of a ditransitive verb is marked in the same way as the single object of a monotransitive verb, and is called the primary object. The patient of ditransitive verbs has its own marking, and is called the secondary object. Such languages are called dechticaetiative languages, and are mostly found among African languages.

An object can be turned into a syntactic subject using passive voice, if the language in question has such a construction. In dative languages, the direct object is promoted, while in dechticaetiative languages the primary object is promoted. English shares this property with dechticaetiative languages, since non-prepositional indirect objects can be promoted:

His colleagues sent him a postcard.
He was sent a postcard.

In the immense majority of languages, where there is a preferred word order in the sentence, the object is placed somewhere after the subject. Analytic languages additionally tend to place the object after the verb, so that it remains separate from the subject.

UKT: End of Wikipedia article.

Go back object-note-b1 object-note-b2 object-note-b3

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rhetorical question

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetorical_question 081224

A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for its persuasive effect without the expectation of a reply (ex: "Why me, Lord?") Rhetorical questions encourage the listener to reflect on what the implied answer to the question must be. When a speaker states: 

How much longer must we endure this weather ?
-- (UKT: The sentence has been changed to suit Myanmar students.)

How many times do I have to tell you to stop walking into the house with mud on your shoes?"

no formal answer is expected. Rather, it is a device used by the speaker to assert or deny something.

UKT: More in the original article.

Go back rhetorical-quest-note-b

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sentence elements

Edited from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentence_element 081213

Sentence elements are the groups of words that combine together to comprise the building units of a well-formed sentence. A sentence element approach to grammar assumes a top-down methodology. In other words, it starts with the sentence as a whole and then divides it into its functional components.

There are five types of sentence element: subject predicate object predicative (aka complement) adverbial

In the sentence below every type of sentence element is present and is represented in this example by a single word.

They elected him president yesterday.
-- They (=subject), elected (=verb), him (=object), president (=predicative), yesterday (=adverbial)

The subject and predicate

All the sentence elements except the subject fall into the predicate of the sentence. The subject is the topic of the sentence and the predicate is the comment on the subject. Look at the example below.

Mr Jenner ate cabbage in the garden.
-- In this example Mr Jenner is the subject, and ate cabbage in the garden is the predicate. Mr Jenner is the topic; and the comment is that he ate cabbage in the garden.

The subject is necessarily a nominal (noun,pronoun,noun phrase or clause).

The verb governs the predicate and determines whether objects, predicatives and adverbials are required, permitted or proscribed. Look at the example below:

My older brother gave Lorna a book yesterday in the garden.
-- In this example the verb to give requires two objects (direct: a book, indirect Lorna) and permits temporal and locative adverbials (yesterday and in the garden respectively)

Sentence elements comprising the predicate

These elements are:
1. verb phrase,
2. object,
3. predicative
4. adverbials

1. verb group [verb phrase]

Every verb group has a main verb, which may stand alone or may be preceded by auxiliary verbs which determine the mood,tense,voice or aspect of the main verb. The main verbs determine which other sentence elements are required or permitted in the predicate, ( selection restriction).

[UKT: One of the greatest difficulties that I have met in comparing Burmese-Myanmar and English-Latin is in connection with tense, or more specifically with TAM (Tense-Aspect-Mood). I have come to conclude that for a Myanmar to understand English tenses, he has to know how his native language handles TAM. The following is from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_tense  080526
   "The distinction between grammatical tense, aspect, and mood is fuzzy and at times controversial. The English continuous temporal constructions express an aspect as well as a tense, and some therefore consider that aspect to be separate from tense in English. In Spanish the traditional verb tenses are also combinations of aspectual and temporal information." ]
See TAM in TIL Grammar Glossary or go online to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_tense  080526

Main verbs may be classified as: copula verb, stative verbs, and active of dynamic verbs.

Copular verb: this links a subject to predicative.

Miss Gold seems happy
-- SUBJECT + COPULA VERB + PREDICATIVE

Stative verb: this establishes a state not an action.

We lay in our beds.
-- SUBJECT + STATIVE VERB + ADVERBIAL

Active or dynamic verb: the sentence describes an action (i.e. a change of state).

Mr Jenner left the room.
-- SUBJECT + ACTIVE VERB + DIRECT OBJECT

2. Object

An object is an entity involved in the subject's performance of the verb. Look at this sentence below:

Mr Bibby kicked the ball. (object)
-- Mr Bibby is the subject (the doer or performer), kick is the verb (the action) and the ball is object involved in the action.

The main verb in the sentence determines whether there can or must be objects in the sentence, and, if so, how many and of what type. This is called the verb valency. If the verb is transitive, as is the verb to kick in the example above, the action is carried over and an object is required. If the verb is intransitive there is no objects, as in the example below.

Intransitive verbs (no object)

The train arrived.
-- The verb to arrive is intransitive. It cannot take an object.

Transitive verbs (one object)

Mr Jenner breaks the windows.
-- The verb to break is monotransitive, and requires one object. It would be ungrammatical to say Mr Jenner breaks, unless the verb to break conveys a different meaning.

Ambitransitive verbs (one or no object)

Miss Gold eats a banana every morning.
-- The verb to eat is ambitranistive and permits, but do not requires, an object. The sentence Miss Gold eats every morning is grammatically correct.

Ditransitive verbs (two objects)

John put the book on the shelf.
-- The verb to put requires two objects. Neither John put on the shelf, nor John put the book are grammatical sentences, at least in English.

Object can be direct or indirect, the latest being introduced by a preposition. Modern English does not, however, distinguish direct and indirect object for pronouns.

We threw stones.
-- direct object

We listened to the radio.
-- indirect object

They advised him to open a shop.
-- objective pronoun

Objects are either nominals (nouns, pronouns, noun phrases or clauses) or either prepositional phrases which consist of a preposition followed by a nominal.

3. Predicative

Predicatives (aka subject + object complements) are nominals or adjectivals which tell us more about the subject or object by means of the verb.

In the following examples the predicative is telling us more about the subject. Subject predicatives (or subject complements) are obligatory sentence elements: if they are removed, a well-formed sentence cannot remain.

The bag seems heavy. (adjectival)

That man is a thief. (nominal)

In the following examples the predicative is telling us more about the object. Object predicatives (or object complements) are non-obligatory sentence elements: even if they are removed, a well-formed sentence remains.

We painted the house yellow. (adjectival)

They elected him president. (nominal)

4. Adverbial

The subject, verb phrase, objects and predicatives form the core of a sentence. Any other element is adverbial; it concerns the circumstances of the sentence (when, where) or relates the sentence to something else. There are four adverbials in the sentence below.

Lorna arrived (1)here (2)yesterday (3)by car (4)despite the rain.

Adverbials may always be added to a sentence, but some main verbs require adverbials for a well formed-sentence, as in the following example:

Lorna put the book onto the table.

As sentence elements, there are four main types of adverbials:

adverbial adjunct integral to sentence meaning and can be removed leaving a well-formed sentence.
Mr Bibby saw her yesterday.

obligatory adverbial integral to sentence meaning but cannot be removed.
They treated her well.

adverbial conjunct - linking the sentence to another, and is removable.
You thought it was true; however, I thought otherwise.

adverbial disjunct - making a comment on the sentence
Stupidly, I answered the question.

Internal structure of sentence elements

Sentence elements may be one of three forms: a (single) word, a phrase, a clause.

single word sentence elements

Single word sentence elements may be directly related to parts of speech. A single word subject or object is necessarily a noun. A single word verb is a verb. A single word predicative is either a noun or an adjective. Single word adverbials are adverbs.

phrasal sentence elements

A phrasal sentence element is any group of words which collectively serve as a sentence element, but which does NOT constitute a clause. We can identify four types of phrase.

noun: these phrases have a noun (or pronoun) head.

the old man who lived next door (with pre and post modification)
   -- Adjectives, determiners and relative clauses may modify the noun. Noun phrases may form the subject, object, predicative and adverbial sentence elements.

prepositional: these phrases have the structure of a preposition followed by a noun phrase.

Lorna gave the book to the old man. (SUBJECT + VERB + OBJECT + PREP OBJECT)
We saw them in the evening. (SUBJECT + VERB + OBJECT + ADVERBIAL)
   -- Prepositional phrases may form prepositional objects and adverbials.

adjectival: these phrases consist of an adjective and possible modifiers.

She was very able to write a book. (with pre and post modification)
   -- As sentence elements adjectival phrases are predicatives.

verbal: the verbal group consists of a main verb, possible auxiliary verbs and possible adverbial particles.

We will have washed up. (SUBJECT + VERBAL STRUCTURE)
   -- They [verbals] only occur the verbal structure of the sentence.

clausal sentence elements

A clause consists of a subject and main verb. Not all clauses function as sentence elements. Look at the two contrasting examples below.

We know that he is a fool. (SUBJECT + VERB + CLAUSAL OBJECT)
The man who is a fool knows nothing.
   -- (The clause is qualifying the man and is not a sentence element in its own right)

The clause can function as a subject, object and adverbial sentence element.

Whether he is guilty is the issue. (CLAUSAL SUBJECT + VERB + COMPLEMENT)
We know that Mr Jenner eats cabbage. (SUBJECT + VERB +CLAUSAL OBJECT)
We arrived before they left. (SUBJECT + VERB + CLAUSAL ADVERBIAL)

Clauses, whether they are sentence elements or not, are themselves composed of sentence elements. Look at the example below.

We know that he is a fool. SUBJECT + VERB + OBJECT (OBJECT = SUBJECT + VERB+ COMPLEMENT)

[End of Wikipedia article.]

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