Basic Sentence Structure

Video Transcript
Slide 1

Student: What are some things that can help me in editing my punctuation?

Tutor: It will help if you understand basic sentence structure. Let’s make sure that you know the difference between a phrase and a clause. If you are confused about this, please do this exercise on phrases and clauses.

Slide 2 – Phrases & Clauses

Clauses

  • Every English sentence has one or more clauses.
  • Every clause has both a subject and a verb.

Slide 3 – The Subject

In general, the subject does the action. The sentence is about the subject.

Examples of subjects:

Sally cried.

Everyone went home.

Alfred was unhappy.

Slide 4 – The Verb

In general, the verb describes the action or condition.

Examples of verbs:

Sally cried.

Everyone went home.

Alfred was unhappy.

Slide 5

Remember that in order to be a clause, there must be both a subject and a verb!

More examples:

Sally passed the salt.

If they arrive on time…

…because it is wrong.

Slide 6 – Exception

There are a few cases where the subject is understood.

These are usually requests or orders.

Examples:

(You) Pass the salt.

(You) Give me the knife!

In these cases, “You” is understood to be the subject.

Slide 7 – Phrases

Phrases are groups of words that are missing either a subject or a verb.

Examples of phrases:

at home

went to the store

the book with a red cover

ran quickly

Slide 8 – Phrases

The following are phrases because they do not have verbs:

  • in the garden
  • to the bridge
  • the boy with the blond hair

Slide 9 – Phrases

The following are phrases because they do not have subjects:

  • going home
  • to know the truth
  • worked hard

Slide 10 – Activity Introduction

On the next few screens, you will see some groups of words. Decide if each group is a phrase or a clause. Select the best choice.

Slides 11-20 – Multiple Choice Questions

Slide 21 – Summary Slide

After completing this activity, you may download or print a completion report that summarizes your results. To save a PDF copy of the report, click below and follow instructions for your browser.

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