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Parts of speech have
specific tasks to perform when they are put together in a sentence.

A noun
or pronoun functions as the sentence subject when it
is paired with a verb
functioning as the sentence predicate.

Every sentence has a subject
and predicate.

A subject can be a
or pronoun that is partnered with an action verb.



Sometimes a verb will
express being or existence instead of action.



Sometimes we use
sentences in which a subject is not actually stated, but is,
nevertheless, understood in the meaning.



A sentence like this gives an order or a request to someone.


Because we use such
statements when we are talking directly to someone, we omit the word you. 
It is understood in the sentence.  Therefore, in statements
like this one, we say the subject is  

you (understood)

This kind of sentence is
an imperative sentence.


A predicate is a verb
that expresses the subject’s action or state of being.



Sometimes the predicate
will be composed of two or three verbs that fit together – the main
preceded by one or more auxiliary (helping) verbs.


be a predicate, a verb that ends in –ing must ALWAYS
have a helping verb with it.  An –ing verb WITHOUT a helping
verb cannot be a predicate in a sentence.

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A subject and predicate
may not always appear together or in the normal order, as the following examples







A phrase is a
group of related words that 

1. does not express a complete thought

2.  does not have a subject and predicate pair

One type of phrase is



Another kind of
phrase is a verbal phrase



Even though these phrases
contain nouns (pronouns) and/or verb forms, none of the nouns/pronouns/verbs are
subjects or predicates.  None of them work as a partnership.

Also, these phrases
do NOT express complete thoughts.


Words and phrases can be
put together to make clauses.

A clause is
a group of related words that contain a subject and predicate.

Note the difference
between phrases and clauses in the following examples:


Only one of the clauses is a sentence.

Clause #1 gives a thought
or an idea that is COMPLETE, that can stand by itself, independent of
other words.

However, clause #2 gives
an INCOMPLETE thought or idea, one that cannot stand by itself, one that
needs some more words to make it whole.  The word after changes the
meaning, making the thought incomplete.  After reading this clause, we are left

These two clauses
illustrate the two kinds of clauses:

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independent clauses and dependent clauses

An independent clause
is a group of words that contains a subject, a predicate, and a complete

A dependent clause
is a group of words that contains a subject and a predicate, but does NOT
express a complete thought.

Words, phrases, and clauses may be joined
to one another inside a sentence with a conjunction.

The coordinating
conjunctions and, but,
may join subjects, predicates, adjectives, adverbs,
prepositional phrases or dependent clauses within a sentence.  This process
is called “compounding.”

The following examples show the process of compounding








When entire independent
clauses (simple sentences) are joined this way, they become
compound sentences

A complete sentence
needs only two elements:

a subject – predicate unit    AND    a
complete thought

In other words, a simple
is actually the SAME thing as an independent clause.

Dependent clauses
or phrases are called fragments because they are missing
one or more parts needed to make a sentence.  

Therefore, they are only pieces
or fragments of complete sentences. 

Look at these examples:


Sometimes two

independent clauses (simple sentences) can be joined to form another kind of
sentence: the compound sentence.

Two major errors
can occur when constructing compound sentences.

Error #1: The Comma

Writers make this error
when they try to separate the two independent clauses in a compound sentence
with a comma alone.

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A comma is not a strong
enough punctuation mark to separate the two independent clauses by itself; thus,
using it causes the clauses to be spliced together.

Example of a comma


This sentence can be
repaired in three ways:

1.  by adding an appropriate coordinating conjunction   


2.  by changing the comma to a semicolon


3.  by changing the punctuation and adding an appropriate conjunctive


Error #2: The Fused

Writers make this error
by joining two independent clauses into a compound sentence without using
any punctuation between them.

No punctuation between
the two independent clauses causes them to “fuse” into an INCORRECT
compound sentence.

Example of a fused


This sentence is also
repaired in three ways:

by adding a comma and an appropriate coordinating conjunction


2.  by placing a semicolon between the two clauses


3.  by adding the needed punctuation and an appropriate conjunctive



Another way to repair a
comma splice or fused sentence is to make each independent clause
into a simple sentence.














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