Decoding English Sentence Structure
Everything begins with identifying the verb. Then we ask who or what before the verb and who or what after the verb, or we can ask where?, when?, why?, or how? after the verb.
Writers place words before or after nouns to tell us more about the noun. These words or groups of words, called adjectives, give us answers to questions we ask about the noun such as what kind of noun? which noun? or how many nouns? Writers also place words before or after verbs to tell us more about the verb. These words or groups of words, called adverbs, give us answers to questions that we ask about the verb such as when, where, how, or why?
When the sentence is complex, we must find the verb in each clause and determine which clause is independent or can stand by itself as a sentence. This main clause becomes our focal point. Everything around it is interpreted as answering either adverbial or adjectival questions about the main or independent clause.
English sentences consist of a noun and a verb that make complete sense together. Every other word or group of words adds more information by answering questions about the main noun, or the main verb, or the main clause itself.
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Rev. Vieira is a former high school master teacher, and the founder and president of ScholarSkills Learning Center.