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Sentence Structure

Constructing sentences correctly is easy as long as writers understand the basic components of sentence structure.  

First of all, every sentence needs at least one independent clause.  An independent clause needs a subject and a predicate.  The subject of a sentence is whom or what the sentence is about.  The predicate of the sentence includes the main verb; it identifies what the subject does or is.  Here are some examples of the shortest types of sentences possible:

--She runs.

--Roberto cooks.

--He is tall.

--She was president.

​Predicates can include direct objects.

--She runs marathons.

--Roberto cooks dinner. 

Correctly-written sentences must have subject/verb agreement.

--Susanna were angry.  incorrect     --Susanna was angry.  correct

--Lewis work.                 incorrect     --Lewis works.              correct   

Subjects and verbs can be modified words, phrases, and clauses.

Subjects can be modified by articles (a, an, the), adjectives and past participles.

--An angry man yelled.

--The excited children squealed.

Subjects can be modified by prepositional phrases.

--A man from Detroit bought the property.

--The restaurant down the street closed.

Verbs can be modified by adverbs.

--The man yelled angrily.

--The children squealed excitedly.

Verbs can be modified by prepositional phrases.

--Meng ran around the block.

--The teacher spoke about our grades.

Direct objects can be modified by adjectives and prepositional phrases.

--Roberto cooks excellent dinners.

--We adopted a dog with three legs. 

Correctly-written sentences must have the correct verb tense.