Tips on Determining Parts of Sentence in English

We need to learn how to tell one part of a sentence from another to gain more understanding among our readers. When each sentence of a text corresponds to the main rules of English grammar, and parts of sentence find their correct places, then the reading becomes comprehensible. But there is a reverse side of it too. Once a person masters all the parts of sentence, it gets easier for him to analyze other people’s writing. It means that learning subjects, verbs, objects and so on actually helps you to improve your skills in two directions at once: to write proficiently and to grasp the main ideas in texts you read. So, let’s learn all the parts of English sentences together; your favorite English editing service will assist you in this.


The majority of English sentences will start with a subject. We can describe it as the main doer or the main character/thing in any sentence. Usually a subject goes right at the beginning of an affirmative sentence, so spotting it presents no difficulties.

Taking into account the number of words that make up the subject, we can single out the next types of it: a single word subject (Clair was unwilling to move.) or a compound one (Clair and her friend were unwilling to move). Bear in mind that even a single word subject can be in plural, so do no rely on this classification while choosing the form of verb.

However, finding the subject in the first place does help to avoid difficulties in subject/verb agreement. To make speech more sophisticated, one should also know further details of English eloquence preferences. For instance, a sentence in question may have a subject that turns out to be not a doer of an action, but rather a receiver. Here we are talking about the Passive Voice, of course. So, having found such a sentence in a text, a proficient editor will try to convert it into the Active Voice because it sounds more natural and therefore is more preferable (learn more about active and passive verbs here). This is just a little example how determining parts of sentence improves your writing.


We already touched upon this notion because a predicate is inseparable from a subject. But let’s dwell more on its peculiarities in English. Experts in diagramming verbs have better chances to learn this information quickly and without effort. So, those who have problems with this grammar aspect are welcome to get familiar with the next article:

Predicates exist to state something about their subjects. The most common practice in most languages is to use verbs as predicates, and English sticks with the same pattern. Predicates divide into two groups as well. Simple ones convey only one action, even if they are made up of several words:

  • Jane baked the cookies early in the morning.
  • The boy rang the bell.
  • My mom was clever enough not to answer to this provocation.

The compound predicate will have several actions attributed to one subject. It always consists of two simple predicates, usually connected by a coordinating conjunction, and you can split such sentences in two.

  • The girls were running and screaming in the yard. (The girls were running in the yard. They were also screaming there.)
  • Some people are still sitting and waiting in the hall.
  • I would rather die or move to another country than choose to live close to him.

Remember that there is no need to use a comma between different parts of a compound predicate. And keep in mind those rules that control usage of irregular verbs.

We already analyzed two parts of English sentences that actually make a sentence complete. Now we will have a short break and let you get familiar with our editing and proofreading services, and after that continue discussing the remaining parts of sentences.


Direct objects in English sentences answer questions “whom?” and “what?” and follow verbs. If an object is indirect, its question usually changes into one with a preposition before it: “to whom?”, “because of what?”, “with what?” and so on. One sentence can have both types of objects at the same time. Direct and indirect objects are not mutually exclusive since they have different functions.

A noun or a pronoun will express the object in most cases, although sometimes the whole phrases play this role in a sentence. See for yourself:

  • Let Jenny do the talking.
  • I wouldn’t trust himwith this task.
  • Everybody saw his picture in the magazine, but people chose to pretend they hadn’t.
  • Mike and Lucy heard Lily singing in the next room.
  • The woman was enchanted to see her little daughter dancing so beautifully.

We already published a separate article devoted to transitive and intransitive verbs, and the notion of object is central there. If you want to learn more about this aspect of English grammar, feel free to follow the link:


Modifiers are parts of sentences that add more meaning to what has already been said. Adjectives and adverbs are parts of speech that act as modifiers more frequently (by the by, this topic is connected with usage of comparative adverbs in English, which we mentioned in one of our previous posts). We are constantly telling you that the reasonable way to deal with academic writing is to reduce the number of adverbs and adjectives to minimum. On the other hand, it does not mean that we can skip grammar rules that concern these words.

Single word modifiers provide additional details about subjects and predicates:

  • The dog barked loudly and annoyed all the neighbors.
  • This was an elaborate dress.
  • The boy carved the wood skillfully and quickly.

Modifying phrases give even more information. It is common practice to separate them with commas from the rest of a sentence (learn English punctuation with Royal Editing – simply read our post devoted to punctuation marks and follow the advice; everybody can get proficient in grammar with well-structured grammar tips).

  • James Will, a well-known school bully of his times, is now married and lives happily with his wife and three kids.
  • The leaves, falling silently from the trees, reminded him of his first autumn in New York.
  • The man sped towards the subway entrance, carrying a bunch of flowers in his left hand.

Finally, in English sentences you can also come across modifying clauses. They have their own subject and predicate but, nevertheless, act as a part of another sentence.

  • The only member of their family who did not have troubles with authorities lived in another country (please, note that the subject of the modifying clause is the word “who”).
  • When will bookstores begin to sell Amanda’s book that has already been published?
  • Did the man who sells cookies give this child his change?

It was our author’s guide on how to determine different parts of sentence in English texts. No matter what, always start with a subject and a predicate because without them, a sentence will be incomplete. Then, it is important to master other parts as well because each of them is vital if the task is to create perfect sentences in your essay. For those who do not want to fail in this, we suggest ordering cheap proofreading and editing services from our online company. We guarantee delivery on time and only the highest level of editing. Here is a number of articles that will show you where to start when working with Royal Editing: