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Parts of a Sentence: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

What makes a sentence complete? What is a subject and a predicate? In this lesson, you will learn the two very special parts of a sentence that make a complete thought.

Fragments

Imagine receiving a story you had written back, and it's covered in your teacher's red correcting pen. 'Fragment!' it reads in numerous spots. Has this ever happened to you? Wait, what exactly is a fragment?

A sentence needs to have both a subject and a predicate for it to be complete. If it doesn't, your sentence is missing some of its meaning and might not make sense. In that case, you have written a fragment.

A fragment is an incomplete sentence that is missing either a subject or a predicate.

Diagrammed Sentence

The image shows a sentence that has been broken down into its grammatical parts. Notice that the simple subject is 'cat' while the simple predicate is 'sat'.

What is a Subject?

The subject of the sentence is who or what the sentence is about.

Here are a few examples:

  • The puppy trotted proudly up the street.

Ask yourself, who or what is the sentence about? The puppy is the one trotting up the street, so the subject of the sentence is 'puppy'.

  • The children played kickball during recess.

Now, who or what is this sentence about? The children are the ones playing kickball, so the subject of the sentence is 'children'.

If you aren't sure about the subject, just look for the person or object that is doing something in the sentence.

The Hidden Subject

The sentence of a subject is usually pretty clear, but sometimes you have to do a little searching.

  • Be sure to lock the doors when you leave the house.

Figuring out the subject here is tricky because it's an imperative sentence, a command. In this case, the subject of the sentence is the person the speaker is talking to and isn't a word in the sentence. It's an implied you, as in '(You) Be sure to lock the doors when you leave the house'.

  • Did you sleep in a tent on your camping trip?

What do you do when you have a question to deal with? You flip the question into a statement, and then the subject of the sentence becomes clearer.

Our question changes to: You did sleep in a tent on your camping trip.

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