Sentence Writing – Step 1 (Basic Components)

Journey with me through this short course and let me know if you learn something new.


  1. A clause is a group of words that contain a subject and verb.
  2. A simple sentence is one that has only one clause.
  3. A clause that can stand alone as a complete sentence is called an independent clause.
  4. Every correctly formed sentence must have at least one independent clause.
  5. As a minimum, a simple sentence must have a subject and a verb. It may also have other words that serve as direct objects, indirect objects, adjective phrases, adverb phrases, and prepositional phrases.

Subjects and Predicates

Let look as some simple sentences that use the linking verb “to be”.

This type of sentences are generally divided into two parts: the subject part (everything before the verb) and the predicate part (the verb and everything after it).

  1. The boy is tall.
    Parts of speech: adj/noun/verb/adjective
    Subject part = “the boy”. Predicate = “is tall”.
    “Tall” is called a predicate adjective. It describes the subject “boy”.
  2. The boy is my brother.
    Parts of speech: adj/noun/verb/adj/noun
    Subject part = “The boy”. Predicate = “is my brother”.
    “Brother” is called a predicate noun and is the same entity as the subject.
    In other words, boy = brother and brother = boy. They are the same person or identity.

Direct Objects

A direct object (DO) is a noun or pronoun that receives the action of the verb.

  1. The soccer player kicked the ball.
    Parts of speech: adj/adj/noun/verb/adj/noun
    DO = ball (the kicking is done to the ball, so the ball receives the action of being kicked)
  2. He married her.
    Part of speech: pronoun/verb/pronoun
    DO = her (the action of getting married happened to her; she received the action of the verb)
  3. The car hit a dog.
    Parts of speech: adj/noun/verb/adj/noun
    DO = dog (the dog receiving the action of the hitting; the dog was hit)
  4. The man gave a present to the woman.
    Parts of speech: adj/noun/verb/adj/noun/prep/adj/noun
    DO = present
    Object of a preposition (OP) = woman.

Indirect Objects

An indirect object (IO) is a person to whom or for whom (for whose benefit) something is done. In some cases it can be a thing. The IO must be placed between the verb and the DO. The preposition “to” for “for” that applies to the IO is NEVER explicitly written but is understood. That’s what makes this noun an IO and not an OP.

  1. The man gave the woman a present. (Compare this form to #4 under “Direct Objects”.)
    Parts of speech: adj/noun/verb/adj/noun/adj/noun
    DO = present
    IO = woman (note that “to the woman” is expressed by omitting the “to” when serving as an IO)
  2. Please tell me a story.
    Parts of speech: adv/verb/pronoun/adj/noun
    DO = story
    IO = me (the story is being told “for me”, for my benefit or the telling is being done “to me”)
    (the “to”/”for” is omitted for an IO function)
    Subject = (you)(understood because this is a command in imperative mood)


That completes Step 1.

You have learned how to write a simple sentence using the basic sentence functional elements of
(a) subject, (b) verb, (c) indirect object, (d) direct object, or (e) object of a preposition.

Self Assessment

  1. The gentleman opened the door for the lady. (List the parts of speech in order of appearance.)
  2. The gentleman gave a present to the lady. (Identify the function of each noun. See a thru e above.)
  3. The gentleman gave the lady a present. (Identify the function of each noun. See a thru e above.)
  4. My father is a policeman. (Identify the function of each noun. See “linking verb” discussion.)
  5. My father is very tall. (Identify the function of “tall”. See “linking verb” discussion.)

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