Sign up or login to use the bookmarking feature.

WE 075 Writing Basic Sentences

Teacher Tips and Answers


Page 75

Ideas Cowboy
© Thoughtful Learning 2024

Writing Basic Sentences

Ideas have free range in your brain, but you need to round them up if you want to write them down. You can lasso ideas with strong sentences.

To be strong, a sentence needs a subject and a verb and a complete thought. If a group of words is missing one of those parts, it’s a fragment. It’s like a lasso without a loop in it.

This chapter will help you write strong, complete sentences that can tame even the wildest ideas.

What’s Ahead

WE 076

Page 76

Sentence Review

Sentences are the freight trains that carry your ideas to the reader. As a result, you should understand how these trains of thought are put together.

The Basic Parts of a Sentence

Sentences have two basic parts—the subject and the verb.

Subject 🟪 The subject usually tells who or what is doing something.

Sara rides her bike to Tanisha’s house.

Verb 🟪 The verb (also called the predicate) expresses action or links the subject to another part of the sentence.

Tanisha takes her own bike from the garage. (action verb)

The girls are eager for today’s adventure. (linking verb)

Additional Words 🟪 Most sentences also contain additional words that describe or complete the thought.

The girls are eager for today’s adventure.

Compound Subjects and Verbs 🟪 A sentence may include more than one subject or more than one verb.

Tanisha and Sara ride to the park. (two subjects)

They swing and slide. (two verbs)

Compound Sentence 🟪 Two sentences may be connected with a conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet).

Sara loves the monkey bars, but Tanisha prefers the seesaw.

Complex Sentence 🟪 An independent clause (complete sentence) connects to one or more dependent clauses.

When the day gets late, the girls ride their bikes home.

WE 077

Page 77

What Can Sentences Do?

Not all sentences function in the same way. Different types of sentences serve different purposes. Sentences do the following:

Make Statements 🟪 A statement gives information about a person, a place, a thing, or an idea. It usually starts with a subject followed by a verb.

The robin built a nest in the maple tree.

Ask Questions 🟪 A question asks for information. It often starts with the verb and includes the subject later.

Will the robin lay eggs soon?

Give Commands 🟪 A command tells people just what to do. It often starts with a verb and has an implied subject (You).

(You) Leave the nest alone.

Make Requests 🟪 A request gives directions or tells how to do something. It also starts with a verb and has an implied subject (You).

(You) Take a picture of the nest.

Express Emotions 🟪 An exclamation expresses strong emotion or surprise.

It has blue eggs!

You can find out more about sentences in the “Understanding Sentences” section. (See pages 466–470.)

WE 078

Page 78

Sentence Errors

Sentence Fragment 🟪 A sentence fragment is a group of words that looks like a sentence but does not express a complete thought.

Has two pet cats. (The subject of the sentence is missing.)

My family has two pet cats.

In the sunny window seat all day. (The subject and verb are both missing.)

They sleep in the sunny window seat all day.

Run-On Sentence 🟪 A run-on sentence happens when two sentences are joined without punctuation or a connecting word.

I love fall colors raking leaves is not my favorite.

I love fall colors. Raking leaves is not my favorite.
(A period has been added, and a word has been capitalized.)

I love fall colors, but raking leaves is not my favorite.
(A comma and the conjunction but have been added.)

Rambling Sentence 🟪 A rambling sentence occurs when you put too many short sentences together with the word and.

My friend Wade and I walk home together and we stop at Central Park and do “acting parts” on the WWII tank and I play a superhero and Wade plays a supervillain.
(Too many and’s are used.)

My friend Wade and I walk home together. We stop at Central Park and do “acting parts” on the WWII tank. I play a superhero, and Wade plays a supervillain.

WE 079

Page 79

Sentence Agreement

Make sure that the subjects and verbs in your sentences agree with each other. If you use a singular subject, use a singular verb; if you use a plural subject, use a plural verb.

One Subject 🟪 Most basic sentences have one subject followed by the verb. When they are right next to each other, it is easy to check for subject-verb agreement.

Julio helps at his family’s restaurant.
(Julio and helps agree because they are both singular.)
His parents cook the best gorditas.
(Parents and cook agree because they are both plural.)

Compound Subjects Connected by “And” 🟪 If a sentence contains a compound subject connected by and, it needs a plural verb.

Janese and Rogan enjoy spooky movies.
Carlos and Jacob prefer comedies.

Compound Subjects Connected by “Or” 🟪 If a sentence contains a compound subject connected by or, the verb must agree with the subject nearer to it.

My brothers or my sister feeds the cat.
(A singular verb, feeds, is needed because sister is singular.)
My sister or my brothers feed the cat.
(A plural verb, feed, is needed because brothers is plural.)

Tip Sometimes the subject does not come before the verb. This happens in sentences beginning with the word there. (There are two cats.) It also happens in questions. (Is this cat yours?)

WE 080

Page 80

Sentence Problems

Double Subjects 🟪 Do not use a pronoun immediately after the subject. The result is usually a double subject.

Snakes and lizards they are cold blooded.
(The pronoun they should be omitted.)

Snakes and lizards are cold blooded.

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement 🟪 Make sure the pronouns in your sentences agree with their antecedents. (Antecedents are the words replaced by the pronouns. See page 475.)

The Marx Brothers launched his act in vaudeville before breaking into the movies.
(The pronoun his is singular. The antecedent Marx Brothers is plural.)

The Marx Brothers launched their act in vaudeville before breaking into the movies.
(Now the pronoun and its antecedents agree; they are plural.)

Double Negatives 🟪 Do not use two negative words (like never and no, or not and no) to express a single negative idea.

I never cheated on no test.

I never cheated on any test.

I didn’t have no homework tonight.

I didn’t have any homework tonight.

Confusing “Of” for “Have” 🟪 Do not use of in a sentence when you really mean have. (When have is said quickly, it sometimes sounds like of.)

We should of bought our tickets sooner.

We should have bought our tickets sooner.

Teacher Support:

Click to find out more about this resource.

Lesson Plan Resources:

Here you'll find a full list of resources found in this lesson plan.

Vocabulary List:
  • predicate: the part of sentence that contains the verb and tells something about the subject

  • compound subject: two or more subjects joined by and or or

  • compound verb: two or more verbs joined by and or or

  • compound sentence: two or more sentences joined by and or or

  • complex sentence: a dependent clause joined to an independent clause (complete sentence)

Vocabulary List:
  • sentence fragment: group of words missing a subject or verb or not expressing a complete thought

  • run-on sentence: two sentences joined without a conjunction or punctuation

  • rambling sentence: unfocused sentence that connects too many ideas using and

Vocabulary List:
  • double subject: error caused when a pronoun immediately follows the subject

  • pronoun-antecedent agreement: matching the subject and verb in number (singular or plural)

  • double negative: error caused when two negative words are used to express a single negative idea

© 2024 Thoughtful Learning. Copying is permitted.