LEOLEO: Literacy Education Online

Grammar Condensed



Part of SpeechDefinitionExamples
NounsName persons, places, things, ideas, or qualities.Capote, woman, Mississippi River, seashell, hardship, courage
PronounsUsually replace nouns and function as nouns.I, you, he, this, that, who, which, everyone
VerbsExpress actions, occurences, or states of beingrun, write, be, appear, seem
AdjectivesDescribe or modify nouns or pronouns.necessary, private, beautiful
AdverbsAnswer these questions: when, where, why, how, how much, in what way? They modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.very, too, loudly, finally, yesterday, next, daringly.
PrepositionsRelate nouns or pronouns to other words in a sentence.about, to, with, around, during, in, of, within
ConjunctionsLink words, phrases, and clauses.
Coordinating conjunctions and correlative conjunctionsLinks words, phrases, or clauses of equal importance.and, but, so, for, or, nor, not only . . . but also, either . . . or
Subordinating conjunctionsIntroduce clauses that cannot stand by themselves as complete sentences and link them to main clauses.although, because, if, whenever, as, whether, in order that
InterjectionsExpress feeling or command attention, either alone or in a sentence.hey, oh, darn, wow, hark!


Part of SentenceDefinitionExamples
SubjectThe noun, or word group acting as a noun, that performs the action expressed in the predicate of a sentence or clause.The author uses symbolism and repetition to convey the character's personality.

Analyzing a literary text is a subjective process; supporting the analysis is not.

PredicateThe part within a given clause or sentence other than the subject and its modifiers.Linguists study the science of language.

The connection between economic conditions and fashion trends appears variable rather than fixed.

ObjectA noun, pronoun, word, or word group acting as a noun that receives the action of a verb or is influenced by a transitive verb, verbal (a word derived from a verb, i.e., gerund, infinitive, and participle), or a preposition.
Direct objectsReceive the action of a verb or verbal and frequently follow it in a sentence.The essayist Pico Iyer examines social issues.

Aristotle's words about invention deserve renewed study.

Indirect objectsTell for whom, to whom, or to what something is done.Reading the poem "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" gives me a sense of a long journey lying ahead.

The heroine lends the situation dignity.

Objects of PrepositionsFollow prepositions and are linked by them to the rest of the sentence.Accomplished public speakers can move their audiences to action with their eloquent words.
ComplementsA word or word group that completes the sense of a subject, object, or a verb.
Subject complementsFollow a linking verb and modify or refer to the subject. They may be nouns (also known as predicate nouns) or adjectives (also known as predicate adjectives).The market is dynamic.
(adjective complement/predicate adjective)

The market is an economic indicator.
(noun complement/predicate noun)

Object complementsFollow and modify or refer to direct objects.The Church labeled Galileo a heretic.
(The noun heretic complements the direct object Galileo.)

They considered his ideas dangerous.
(The adjective dangerous complements the direct object his.)

Verb complementsAre direct or indirect objects of a verb. They may be nouns, pronouns, or words or word groups acting as nouns.Campus-based volunteer groups provide students an opportunity to work in the community.
(Students is the indirect object, and opportunity is the direct object of the verb provide; both objects are verb complements.
PhrasesA group of related words that lacks a subject or predicate or both and that acts as a single part of speech.
Prepositional phrasesConsist of prepositions and their objects and modifiers.The poet leads the reader through her childhood.

A consultant forms an opinion during an initial meeting.

Verb phrasesAre verb forms of more than one word that serve as the predicate of a sentence or clause.The main character has experienced much isolation.

Can we define normalcy?

Verbal phrasesAre formed from a verbal (a word derived from a verb). 
Infinitive phrasesConsist of infinitives and their objects, plus any modifiers.The critic seems to avoid direct comment.
Participle phrasesConsist of participles and their objects, plus any modifiers that function as adjectives.The corporation seeking financial stability must remain flexible.
Gerund phrasesConsist of gerunds (the -ing form of a verb used as a noun) and their objects, plus any modifiers, which function as nouns.Tracing an earthquake's causes requires data from several sources.
ClausesA group of related words containing a subject and a predicate.
Main (independent) clausesCan stand by themselves as sentences.The author's style emphasizes the character's confusion.
Subordinate (dependent) clausesCannot stand by themselves.The author's style emphasizes the character's confusion when he is captured.

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LEO: Literacy Education Online

This page was written by Sharon Cogdill and Judith Kilborn for the Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, and may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.

Last Update: 5 October 1999

URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/grammar/grammarcondensed.html