Sentence Skills 


(Online option)

Instructions:  Unscramble the words to create a sentence.  Pay attention to punctuation and capital letters. You need to add commas in some sentences.

1. day/ life/ my/ in/ busy/ typical/ a/  is/ usually/ a/ day/ 
2. home/ school/  I / things/ do/ many/ at /  work/ and/ at/ at/ 
3.  typical/ 7:00 o’clock/  my/ day/ begins/ normally/ at
4.  time/ get/ up/  this/ the/ is/ morning/ every/I 
5.  brush/ shower/ take/ teeth/ a/ my/ getting up/  I / after/ and/ 
6.  breakfast/ showering/ after/ have/  I/ 
7.  school/ breakfast/ leave/  I/  for/ after/ 
8.  arrive/  at/ school/ at/  I/  at/ 9:00 A.M./ Mondays/ on
9.  class/ go/ to/ from/ to/  I/ 9:25 A.M./ 12:05 P.M./ 
10.  lunch/  I/ have/ 12:30P.M./ at/ almost/ day/ every/
11. lunch/ after/ class/ last/ to/ go/ my/  I/ ends
12.  class/  after/ go/  I/ to/ work/ my/ ends
13. work/  I/ a/ hours/ three/ day/ but/  at/ study/ night/ I/
14.  work/ store/ shoe/ a/ in/  I/ day/ every/ 
15.  work/ do/ home/ after/ you / come/ ?
16. dinner/ have/  I/  homework/  do/ ,/ sleep/ to/ go/ and/ my/ 
17. usually/ day/ have/ I / busy/  very/ a/ work/ school/ home/ at/ at/ at/ and/ 


What is a sentence?

A sentence is a group of words that ...

You are going to learn how to write sentences step by step.  To learn about subjects, you need to know nouns and pronouns.  To write verbs correctly, you need to know regular and irregular forms of the tenses.  To learn what an independent clause is (and what it is NOT), you need to learn about fragments and run-on sentences and how to avoid them.  


Basic Sentence Patterns

In this lesson, you will learn the elements of a sentence.  There are 5 basic sentence patterns in English.  Before we start this lesson (or after class in the lab), go to these 5 websites.    Click the buttons on the screen at each site to see sentences with these patterns.


The 5 Basic Patterns 

Subject + Verb 

 I swim. Joe swims. They swam.
 Subject + Verb + Object  

 I drive a car. Joe plays the guitar. They ate dinner.
Subject + Verb + Complement

 I am busy. Joe became a doctor. They look sick.
 Subject + Verb + Indirect Object + Direct Object  
I gave her a gift. She teaches us English.

The last pattern is for level 5 and grammar, and you will not see it in your level 4 classes, but you can look at it now if you want.

Subject + Verb + Object + Complement  
( )

I left the door open. We elected him president. They named her Jane.


Sentence Elements


A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea.  Almost every sentence in English has at least one noun. If you look closely, you can find them. Look at the following paragraph. In it, all of the nouns are highlighted in bold.  (All of these paragraphs were written by Yuliana Rodriguez.)

(online option)

Maybe when you were a child, you read the book The Little Prince, and you did not understand it. Maybe you thought that some French guy named Antoine de Saint-Exupery decided to write a story about a child from another planet who traveled around the universe, and maybe you still think that it is a nice book to entertain children, but is that really what the book is about? Is that the real purpose of the author? The truth is that this book encloses a philosophy about three different aspects of life.


Exercise 1

Instructions:  Can you find the nouns in this paragraph?  Be careful.  It is sometimes easy to confuse a noun with an adjective.

The first and most important aspect that this book discusses is the loss of our dreams while we grow, while we fight to get social status, or while we are afraid of failing. The book encourages us to go back to our childhood, making us remember what it is that we really wanted to do with our lives, and it causes us to start to change our ways of living, affirming that it is never too late to start again.

Here are some common types of nouns and some of their characteristics.

1. Proper nouns (CAPITALIZED) name people, places, or things.
Examples: Sandra Day O'Conner, Chevrolet

2. Common nouns (not capitalized) refer to people, places or things.
Examples: judge, automobile, poem

Exercise 2:  

Instructions:  Circle the proper nouns in this paragraph written by Martha Archela (adapted for this exercise).  

(Online Option) 

     Learning English in a place like Miami is difficult because a large amount of the population is Hispanic, which implies that almost 100% of that population speaks Spanish.  Where ever you go, you will find people who speak Spanish.  For instance, when I go to Publix Supermarket or to Bank Atlantic, the person whom I talk to quickly answers in Spanish.  It doesn't matter whether he or she is an American or not.  That almost everyone in Miami speaks Spanish is not an obstacle for me to learn English.  One of the things I do in order to learn English is to borrow some printed books and audiobooks with the same title.  Later at home, while reading the printed book, I listen to the audiobook, paying attention to the pronunciation, the grammar, and the punctuation.  Seeing me study that way, my husband said that I was wasting time and that I was not going to learn anything, so he asked me why I didn't enroll at Miami-Dade Community College.  I answered that I probably would go.


Exercise 3:  

Instructions:  Underline the common nouns in Martha's paragraph. (above)

To study more about common and proper nouns, visit this Randall Gwin Website:


All common nouns and proper nouns can be divided into two categories: count nouns and non-count nouns.

1. "Count nouns" can be counted. (They can be plural.)
Examples: cup=cups,  person=people,  dog=dogs,  child=children, man=men

2. "NonCount nouns" are not plural.  They are counted by adding a counting or measuring word.
Examples: a cup of sugar, a piece of fish, a pound of gold, a lot of love

Exercise 4:  

Instructions:  Are the following nouns from Martha's paragraph count or non-count?

Exercise 4:  

Instructions:  Are the following nouns from Martha's paragraph count or non-count? Some of these nouns can be count OR non-count.  In those cases choose the use that Martha has in her paragraph.  

  1. No.  This is a non-count noun.  count     Good job.  This is a non-count noun.  non-count     English

  2. Yes.  This is a count-noun. count     No.  This topic sentence has too many topics!  The paragraph would not be focused. non-count     place

  3. No. This is a non-count noun in Martha's paragraph. count    Good job.  This is a non-count noun.  non-count     pronunciation

  4. Yes.  This is a count-noun. count     No. This is a count-noun.  You can say "things."  non-count     thing

  5. No. This is a non-count noun in Martha's paragraph. count    Good job.  This is a non-count noun.   non-count     time

  6. Yes.  This is a count-noun. count     No. This is a count-noun.  You can say "audio books." non-count     audio book

  7. Yes.  This is a count-noun.  count     No. This is a count-noun.  You can say "Americans." non-count     American

  8. Yes.  This is a count-noun.  count     No. This is a count-noun.  You can say "obstacles."  non-count     obstacle

  9. No. "Spanish is always a non-count noun.  count     Good job.  This is a non-count noun. non-count     Spanish

  10. Yes.  This is a count-noun.  count     No. This is a count-noun.  You can say "Hispanics."  non-count     Hispanic

To study more about count/non-count nouns, visit this Randall Gwin Web Site:

Gerunds and nouns

I enjoyed visiting the Sequoia National Forest.
Eating too quickly can give you indigestion.


Gerunds can be nouns.  Look at these examples:


Spelling of the Present Participle

For words that end in consonant + "-e", drop the "-e" and add "-ing".

Give + ing    ---    Giving

When the verb ends in "consonant + vowel + consonant" and has the stress on the last syllable (or only has one syllable), you must double the final consonant. (Except for words that end in Y, W, or X )

stop + ing = stopping      occur + ing = occurring             

For verbs that end in two consonants, x, y, or w, just add "ing".

fix + ing = fixing            play + ing = playing           grow + ing = growing



Using Present Participles as Gerund Subjects

If you want to learn to write English, you should: Why should you do these things?  
(Note the GERUND subject in each sentence) 
read something in English every day Reading English helps you learn English sentence structure and vocabulary.
make friends with native English speakers Making English-speaking friends allows you to practice English every day.
listen to television and radio in English Listening to different speakers of English helps you understand dialects and increases your vocabulary.
watch movies that have no subtitles in your language Watching good movies motive you to understand what the speakers are saying. 
get a job in an English-speaking environment Getting a job where no one speaks your language will force you to use English many hours a day.
learn 10 new English words every day and use them with your friends Learning 10 new words each day will increase your vocabulary. 
take an English writing class Taking a writing class will train you to write using correct punctuation and sentence structure.
study English on the Web Studying English on the Web can be fun, and because it is private, you do not need to be embarrassed by your errors.

keep a journal in English

Writing every day will help you develop your writing fluency.

Exercise on Gerund Subjects

Answer each of these questions using a gerund subject.

 Which sport is fun to play and why?
Sample response:  Playing soccer is fun because it is played outdoors in the fresh air.

1.  What prevents students from learning English?

2.  What helps you most to learn English?

3.  Which suggestions about learning English (from the examples above) do you think is impossible for you and why?

4.  Which of the activities suggested above would help you learn English fast? 

5.  What benefits will you have from improving your written English?

6.  Is getting a job where everyone speaks English scary to you?  Why? Why not?  (Answer in a complete sentence.)





Pronouns are used to replace nouns.  They can be the subject of object of a sentence. 

I me
you you
he him
she her
it it
one one
we us
they them

Here are some of the different types of pronouns.

1. Personal pronouns (I, you, us, her) are for people and things.
2. Relative pronouns (who, which, whom) begin dependent clauses and refer to people and things.
3. Demonstrative pronouns (this, these, that, those) point to the nouns they replace.
4. Interrogative pronouns (who, which, what) form questions.
5. Reflexive pronouns (herself, themselves) repeat, rename, or emphasize a noun or pronoun.
6. Indefinite pronouns (one, anyone, everybody) are for general, or nonspecific, persons or things.


Look at the paragraph below. All of the pronouns in the example box below are underlined.

The idea that “everybody is in a different world” is the second philosophic idea that we can find in this book. The author establishes that each person creates his or her own reality and lives inside it, sometimes without noticing what is going on around him. Exupery highlights this idea, encouraging us to investigate the other’s reality, to make our lives easier as members of a society through tolerance.
The third and last idea is the value of friendship. This book encourages us to keep our friends by exalting this kind of relationship as the most important one in a person’s life. This affirms that the time that we spend with our friends and the things we learned from them makes our friends unique. It also includes the council of keeping our friends as treasures, which is what they really are.

Exercise 5

Instructions:  Underline the nouns, and circle the pronouns in this final paragraph from Yuliana's essay:

    This book not only includes these three things, but it also talks about love, family, society, and happiness. It really makes us think about our life. Don’t you think it is time to stop to meditate? Don’t you think it would be good to read this book again? Now that you can see things from a different point of view, you will see for yourself that The Little Prince is much more than a fairy tale.


Exercise 6:
Underline the nouns, and circle the pronouns in this final paragraph from Noemi Juaregui's essay:

My Partner’s Best Friend,
Carmen Hars 

    Patricia Pinacho has a special best friend whose name is Carmen Hass. Patricia met Carmen two years ago when they were studying English. Carmen likes her because she is a good conversationalist, good at keeping secrets, and very easygoing. The best quality that Carmen possesses is that she is straightforward. They have something in common because both of them like to talk a lot.  The difference between Patricia and Carmen is that Patricia prefers to stay at home, and Carmen likes going to parties. What Patricia likes most about Carmen is her delicious cooking. In conclusion, it is wonderful to have a best friend like Patricia has in Carmen.  



3 Facts about Verbs 

1---All sentences have at least one verb, and there are no exceptions to this rule.  

2---Verbs can describe an occurrence (an action) or a state of being.


  • It happened last night.

  • I will send the letters tomorrow.

  • The dog barked.

  • It happened last night.


state of being: 

  • The child is going to get well soon.

  • The soup tasted delicious.
  • The universe has existed for eons.
  • It will occur later.


3---There are four types of verbs in English:

1. TRANSITIVE VERBS usually need a direct object and may also have an indirect object.
Example: He GAVE the book to me.

2. INTRANSITIVE VERBS cannot take objects..
Example: He FELL. (Wrong: "He fell me.")

3. LINKING VERBS are followed by an adjective or a noun.
Example: The music SOUNDS good.

4. AUXILIARY (or helping) VERBS show tense and mood.
Examples: He WAS getting up. He SHOULD go with you.


Complete VS Simple Predicates

Now let's look at the difference between the COMPLETE PREDICATE of a sentence and the SIMPLE PREDICATE.

A Complete Predicate is all the words that describe the action of the sentence.
Example: Henry
is going to go to the beach tomorrow with is sister and brother.

A Simple Predicate is the main verb of the sentence -- not the adverbs or other words around the verb.
Example: Henry is going to go to the beach tomorrow with his sister and brother.

Note: There will more than one predicate in a sentence if it is a compound or complex sentence.  
Example:  Andy wanted to go to the beach with us, but Mother didn't want him to be out in the sun so soon after his illness.


Exercise 1

Instructions:  In the following sentences, the complete predicate (the main verb, its auxiliaries and all the words that describe the action) are underlined.  Circle the simple predicate (the main verb).

  1. Many teachers are going to that conference.

  2. Charlie has opened the door all by himself today.

  3. After the movie, Jacob is going to take Margaret to a nice restaurant.

  4. The dog was barking and lunging at the people walking by.

  5. The cat ran up a tree this morning.


Exercise 2:

Instructions: In the following sentences, the simple predicate (the main verb and its auxiliaries) are underlined.  Can you underline the complete predicate?

  1. Henry was singing and dancing with the people at the party.

  2. The professor arrived late to the class.

  3. It happened on my birthday last year.

  4. A major earthquake will occur within the next 10 years.

  5. The symphony sounded offkey last night.

  6. Harriet didn't feel like going to the zoo with her children yesterday.


Exercise 3  
Instructions: Underline the complete verbs in the following paragraph written by Lisday Bello.  

My First Trip to the United States
Lisday Bello

    Every time I think about when I first came to the United States, my thoughts remind me of many things that I can never forget. When I left Cuba 3 years ago, we departed from Jose Marti International Airport, which is located in Havana. During the flight, I stared out the window thinking how my life was going to change and the problems that I was going to face. While I was leaving the country where I grew up, I was also leaving the persons that I love the most, my parents.
     By that time, I didn’t know when I was going to see my family again, nor did I know how difficult this was going to be. When we arrived at Miami International Airport, my uncle was waiting for me to take me to his house where I lived for a few months. Once outside the airport, I was so impressed that I couldn’t believe just what I had in front of my eyes. Everything seemed as if I were in a movie, one I had watched on TV. If I were not in this country, I would not have experienced that great time I had when I first came here.


Subject Verb Agreement 

All verbs must agree with their subjects.  What does this mean?  
If the subject is singular, then the verb must be singular.  If the subject is plural, then the verb must be plural.  It sounds easy, right?  Well, the problem is that sometimes it is difficult to find the simple subject of the sentence.  It can be surrounded by prepositional or adverbial phrases.  If you cannot find the subject, you will make mistakes with subject-verb agreement. The most common errors happen when a noun comes at the beginning of a sentence, but there is a preposition preceding it.  In the next section, you will learn about prepositions and prepositional phrases.  For now, remember that the simple subject of a sentence is never inside a prepositional phrase.  Here is a preview of the next lesson:  Can you find the simple subject in these sentences:


Exercise 1

Instructions:  Circle the subject-verb agreement errors in this essay by Alexis Arroyo.  Correct each error

How Computers Have Improved Our Lives
by Alexis Arroyo

     (1)Computers has improved student’s lives, medical equipment, and communication technology more then any other invention in world history.
(2)Now computer technology have made student life easier and faster. (3)For example, now they can find information in regards to their homework instead of having to go to the library. (4)Also, they helps students keep in touch with their teachers all the time.
(5)Several kinds of computers has improved medical equipment also. (6)One of these improvements are the new robot built to make it possible for a surgeon to perform surgery even if the patient are thousands of miles away.
(7)In addition, computers improves communication all over the world. (8)For example, people does not have to spend hundreds of dollars on long distance calls. (9)Therefore, they can converse for hours without having to spend a penny.
(10)These are just a few examples of how computers has improved student life, develop medical equipment, and improving communication technology. (11)In my opinion, computers are the greatest invention in world history.


(from Department Modules)

Exercise 2:  

Instructions:  Each of the sentences below contain an error in agreement. Identify the error by underlining it.  Write the correction in the blanks.

Example:  John live in Montreal. --- lives

  1. They has lived here for ten years.      ________________

  2. Robert and Mary is good friends.   ________________

  3. The instructor teach the class very well.   ________________

  4. Both of them teaches in the college.   ________________

  5. Amy and Tom is going to get married next month.   ________________

  6. He have wished that you would come to his wedding.   ________________

  7. Elly and Leslie was at the party.   ________________

  8. Only one of the students were doing his best, but it wasn’t good enough.   ________________

  9. I has to be home by three o’clock.   ________________

  10. The weather in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale have a been beautiful this weekend.   ________________

Exercise 3:

Instructions:  Each of the sentences below contains an error in agreement.  Circle the error and then write the correction in the blank.

  1. One of them live on my block.   ________________

  2. Rhonda have waited a long time for this day.   ________________

  3. Monica and Wendy's sharing an apartment together.   ________________

  4. One of her best friends like to go ice skating.   ________________

  5. Dolly and her aunt tries to improve their English.   ________________

  6. Peter give some money to his daughter.   ________________

  7. Leslie study at the University in the evening.   ________________

  8. Learning English are difficult.   ________________

  9. Both of us wants to go to Europe.   ________________

  10. Elena and Cary drives to work every morning.   ________________


To learn more about subject-verb agreement, study these great Randall Gwin Web sites:



Prepositional Phrases

A preposition connects a noun to other words in a sentence. There are "single-word" prepositions, and "multi-word" propositions. The preposition and its noun (called "the object of the preposition") together are called a "prepositional phrase".  

  Remember: The noun in a prepositional phrase is NEVER the subject of the sentence.

Many sentences in English have prepositional phrases.  It is a preposition and a noun that is the object of that preposition. 

Look at the sentences below:  
There are several nouns in the sentences, right?  But only ONE noun is the subject of the sentence.  The other nouns here are objects of prepositions (they come after a preposition), or a subject in a subordinate clause (you will learn about this very soon.)  The subject of the sentence is the person or thing that action in the sentence.

Some common prepositions:

  • about
  • above
  • across
  • after
  • against
  • along
  • among
  • around
  • at
  • before
  • behind
  • below
  • beneath
  • beside
  • between
  • beyond
  • by
  • despite
  • down
  • during
  • for
  • from
  • in
  • into
  • like
  • near
  • of
  • off
  • on
  • out
  • over
  • since
  • through
  • throughout
  • to
  • toward
  • under
  • until
  • up
  • with
  • without


More examples of prepositional phrases.  
Question:  Can you identify the main subject in these two sentences?

1. Beside the lake   on the blanket   with her daddy, baby Jasmine is drinking her milk.

2. Without any money in his pocket and with no friends in the city, John decided to move to Miami for the winter.

Answer:  "Jasmine" and "John"


Exercise 1:  

Instructions:  Underline the prepositional phrases in these sentences.  Then circle the main subject of the sentence.  Remember that the subject of the sentence will NeVeR be inside a prepositional phrase.

1. Between Maple Street and Vine, there is a wonderful donut shop with freshly ground coffee.

2. In the International Student Program, many students come from Central and South America.

3. One of the most beautiful countries in South America is Venezuela.

4. On the corner of the table next to the computer, the cat was sleeping quietly with with her head resting on a speaker.

5. My children and I are traveling to France during our next vacation in June.

6. At the end of the semester, before the professor gives us our final grades, we must take a final exam and turn in three essays.

7. Most of the sunsets in the rainforest of Brazil are brilliant.

8. Some of those elephants in that large paddock next to the giraffes look sick.

9. Both of the dogs were tired after they came back from the long walk.

10. Judy and her family are moving to a quiet little town in South Florida next summer.


Exercise 2:

Instructions:  Underline the prepositional phrases (the preposition and the noun after the preposition) in this description.  Then circle the object of the preposition, and double-underline the subject of the sentence.

1.  All of the people in the room liked the movie about old Jim.
Old Jim liked to fish at the Mirror Lake, but as we saw in the movie, when his line was in the water, he always fell asleep.  One day as he was fishing reclining against a rock, he fell asleep.  In the water around his fishing line, many fish began to jump up out of the water.  They were trying to wake Jim up.  They were trying to warn Jim about something........ something very important.  

I guess you will need to see the movie to learn more..... 


Exercise 3 ---Group Assignment

Instructions:  In small groups write a story or a description of one of the pictures below using prepositional phrases.  Write five sentences (minimum).  Circle the prepositions.  Share your description with classmates. 

Vocabulary:  dock, fishing net 
Vocabulary:  computer monitor, keyboard


Vocabulary:  campfire, kettle, sunset, horse, saddle



Almost every sentence has a subject and a verb. 

        John and I               study at night.
          subject                       verb

Imperatives or commands are exceptions to this rule. Commands do not have subjects, but they ARE complete sentences!  Look at these examples of imperatives.

Stop it!
Come in. Sit down. Be quiet.
Play with me. 


Don't fall!
Get off that wall!
Watch out!
Be careful!

In the imperative sentence, we understand that the subject is always YOU.  The "you" is invisible.

In other sentences, the subject is named, and you need to remember that the verb must "agree" in number with that subject. This means that when the subject of the sentence is singular, the verb is singular, too. When the subject is plural, the verb is plural. The following subjects and verbs are conjugated correctly in the present tense.  

Look at these sentences.  There is a subject and a verb in each one.

You read the paper every day, don't you

Mathew seems frustrated with his computer.   

David finally hit the ball!

Jane and I are going to watch the soccer game together.  

Do you want some soda or a snack?


Exercise 1

Instructions:  Look at the pictures and the subjects for each sentence.  Write a creative sentence for each picture using the subjects that are given.

Look at me!
1) I...
2) I...
3) I... 
Little toy:
4) You...

Baby Jane:
5) You...

The father:
6) He...

The boat:
7) It...

The mother:
8) She...

My dog and I
9) We...

10) We...

11) We...

Sally and her puppy
11) They...

12) They...

13) They...  

Subjects and Objects

The subject of the sentence tells who does the action in a sentence.  The object receives the action of the verb.  Easy, right?  Let's look at the difference between the COMPLETE SUBJECT the SIMPLE SUBJECT and the OBJECTS.  This idea is important because in order to make sure that you have correct subject-verb agreement in the sentence, you have to make sure that the SIMPLE subject agrees with the verb.  But sometimes, the simple subject is inside of a very long COMPLETE subject with lots of adjectives and prepositional phrases around it and it is hard to find.  Here are the definitions:

A Complete Subject is a noun or a group of words such as "My brother, John, who studies with his best friend at the University of Miami" or "The man over there on the corner in the yellow hat".  The complete subject includes all of the words that describe the simple subject of the sentence.  

A Simple Subject is one or more nouns (car, John Brown) or pronouns (he, it).   It is the the subject of the verb.  To help you write sentences that have correct subject-verb agreement, it is necessary to identify the simple subject of a sentence.  

The other important element of most sentences is the OBJECT.  The Object often comes after a verb.  The object of a verb is a noun.  


To find the direct object of a verb, you can use this process:  1) find the subject, 2) find the verb, 3)  ask "subject + verb + WHAT?"  The answer to that question will give you the object.  Here is an example:

Sentence:  My brother studies English with his friends.

subject = brother        verb = studies        question = brother studies WHAT?
answer=  English (the object)


Exercise 2

Instructions:  Identify the subject (s), verb (v), and object (o) of the verb in these sentences.

  1. The students over there are studying English.
  2. Both of us raised our hands in class.
  3. All of the people in this room came to the play.
  4. The boy in the hall ate lunch later.
  5. Most cats climb trees.
  6. Almost all of my friends watch MTV.


Exercise 3

Instructions:  Answer these questions in complete sentences.  When you finish, circle all of the subjects. Underline the verbs.

1.  What is your favorite sport?  Why do you like this sport?  Where do you play it?

2.  Who is the most famous person in your country?  Why is he famous?  Do you admire him?  Why or why not?

3.  What is the title of your favorite book? What is the book about?

4.  Who is the strangest person you know? Why do you consider this person strange?

5.  Who is your best friend? Where does s/he live? work


When you are locating subjects, BE CAREFUL with prepositional phrases.  The noun that comes after the preposition in a prepositional phrase is NEVER the subject of the sentence.

Exercise 4:

Identify the simple subject in these sentences.  Then read the explanation that follows to see if you were correct. 

1. After many years of study, both of my daughters became professionals.

Notice that the subject here is "BOTH". The first part of the sentence "after many years of study" is only a prepositional phrase. To find the subject of a sentence, ask "WHO" is performing the action. The simple subject is usually only ONE word.  "Of my daughters" is a prepositional phrase and you will almost never find the main subject inside of a prepositional phrase.

2. After we finish washing the dishes, you can watch the movie with your friends in the living room.

Notice that the subject here is "YOU". The first part of the sentence is only a prepositional phrase. To find the subject of a sentence, ask "WHO" is performing the action ("can watch" is the action.). The simple subject is usually only one word.

3. The third chapter in the book really helps me understand English verbs.

The subject here is "CHAPTER". To find the subject of this sentence, look at the verb and then ask "WHAT" or "WHO" + that verb. In this case, "What HELPS me understand English verbs?". The answer is "chapter". (The simple subject is usually only ONE word.) In this sentence "the third" are modifier words; not the simple subject.  Adjectives are never the simple subject of a sentence.

4.  Trust is an important ingredient for a good relationship.

The subject in this sentence is "TRUST". Remember that the simple subject of a sentence is only the noun that performs the action -- not the adjectives or articles that describe that noun. Simple subjects can be nouns such as "John Brown" or "car" or a pronoun such as "he" or "it".  

5. Who is going to teach the class when the teacher goes to the conference?

In this sentence, the subject is the interrogative pronoun, "WHO". This pronoun is always singular. This sentence would be incorrect if it had a plural verb: "Who are to teach the class ..."

6. That  is not what the professor said during the review session yesterday.

The subject in this sentence is "That". Remember that subjects go in front of the main verb in a sentence. The main verb here is "is".

7. The house on the corner with all of the flowers in front and the strange doorknob is for sale.

The simple subject in this sentence is "house". Remember that descriptions that are made with prepositional phrases like "with all of the flowers"  are almost never the simple subject of a sentence. Prepositional phrases only give additional information or description in a sentence.


Exercise 5:

Instructions:  Circle the simple subject in these sentences. Underline the prepositional phrases.  Remember that you will not find the simple subject inside of a prepositional phrase.

1. One of the team captains called you this morning.

2. When I think about when I first came to the United States, my thoughts remind me of many things that I can never forget.

3. By that time, I didn’t know when I was going to see my family again.

4. Once outside the airport, I was impressed with all that I saw.

5.  Special rooms and clothes are used to protect patients from hurting themselves.  (this sentence has a compound subject:  2 words)


Exercise 6


1.     day/very/Today/a/nice/is

2.    day/Today/first/is/the/class/this/English/of

3.    teacher/I/happy/very/be/to/am/your

4.    class/we/practice/word/every/going/order/to/are

5.    challenge/Learning/always/language/is/a/a

6.    lived/have/Miami/I/in/years/for/two

7.    sees/her/seldom/friend/my/grandparents

8.    email/John/me/sends/often

9.    arriving/be/plane/the/should/soon

10.   mine/spots/dog/The/the/with/brown/is

11.   are/what/class/?/our/books/the/for

12.   please/door/you/will/close/the/?

13.   one/Atlanta/stop/at/will/we/for/day

14.   away/the/blew/balloon/from/boy/the

15.   camera/yesterday/to/took/I/my/school


Exercise 7  Sentence Pattern Practice with mixed tenses

Online Options:   Exercises 1-5        Exercises 1-6

Written Exercise:
Instructions:  Write the sentence pattern indicated using the model given.


1.  The boys are eating lunch right now.

2.  Julia studies for her classes every day?

3.  They gave the musician a twenty-dollar bill because they liked his music.

 4.  The children play in the park every day with their parents.

5.  Mom is fixing dinner tonight.

Exercise 8

Present Progressive   

  1. boy/today/writing/parents/is/the/his

  2.  eating/right/John/lunch/is/now

  3.  John/preparing/and/trip/Martha/a/for/are

  4.  test/studying/students/for/are/their/English/the

  5.  riding/lose/Bob/to/are/weight/and/bicycles/Joan

  6.  at/Susie/are/Sandra/moment/for/and/groceries/Larry/shopping/the

  7.  in/fish/are/the/circles/in/swimming/aquarium/the

  8.  yard/the/Baldwin/trees/Nicki/planting/back/and/are/Jim/in/

  9.  the/playing/Robbie/field/are/Leonard/baseball/and/in/park

  10.   telephone/Becky/to/I/on/talking/the/am

  11.   redecorating/Jonathan/house/Betty’s/are/and/Bill/weekend/this 

  12.  of/practicing/recital/Saturday/members/for/Chorus/the/the/are/the/on

  13.   checkers/my/playing/and/grandpa/retirement/are/friends/in/his/the/home 

  14.  heart/is/the/patient’s/doctor/to/listening/the 

  15.  special/you/for/are/something/looking



WEB activites for Word Order  Take the quiz. Take the quiz.  word order practice. scrambled proverbs for word order practice. more scrambled sentences. even more scrambled sentences. More scrambled questions. 



Internet Activities

Diagnostic Quiz and Customized Practice for Grammar in General  

Subject-Verb Agreement

  1. Pretest: 
  2. Explanation: 


Simple Present VS Present Progressive

3.  "The reading text describes what normally happens during a hurricane. For this exercise, imagine that you are a television reporter describing the approach and the arrival of a hurricane. Because it is happening now, you must use the present progressive instead of the simple present." 

4.  Making Questions
"Situation: You call me at home. I answer the phone and I tell you that I cannot talk for very long because I'm waiting for a taxi to pick me up at my door. I'm going to a party. Ask me questions about the party. My answers are underlined. What are the questions?"   

5.  Practice Present VS Present Continuous some more:
Take practice quizzes that give instant results....   

6.  Optional practice with these tenses:


Post tests

Parts Of Speech test needed


 Hit Counter since 1/1/03