Core Parts of a Sentence

There are two core parts of a sentence: the subject and the verb. Your ability to identify the subject and the verb in a sentence will facilitate your ability to write complete sentences (as opposed to fragments).

Identifying the Subject

The subject of a sentence refers to who or what is doing something.

HOT GRAMMAR TIP

To identify the subject of a sentence, ask yourself, "Who or what is doing the action?"

Example #1

The president closed the college due to the heat.
Reasoning: The subject of this sentence is "president" since it is the president who was doing something (closing the college).

Example #2

The dog barked for a long time.
Reasoning: The subject of the sentence is "dog" since it was the dog who was doing something (barking).

Try the exercises on subjects!

Exercise 1 | Exercise 2

Identifying the Verb

In most sentences, the verb is the word that indicates WHAT is being done or the action that is being taken.

HOT GRAMMAR TIP

To identify the verb in a sentence, ask yourself, "What is the action?" or "What is being done here?." In some sentences, though, the verb is a "state of being." The verb "to be" (am, are, is, was, were, etc.) in all its forms is an example of this.

Example #1

The president closed the college due to the heat.
Reasoning: The verb in this sentence is "closed" since that is what is being done and that was the action being taken.

Example #2

The dog barked for a long time.
Reasoning: The verb in this sentence is "barked" since this is what was being done and that was the action taken.

Example #3

It is sunny today.
Reasoning: There is no action here; however, the verb denotes a state of being or tells what is happening in the sentence with the word "is."

Example #4

He was a good student.
Reasoning: There is no action here; however, the verb denotes a state of being or tells what is happening in the sentence with the word "was."

Try the exercises on verbs!

Exercise 1 | Exercise 2