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What Is the Difference Between Parts of Speech & Parts of a Sentence?


Parts of speech are the basic elements of sentences. These individual elements cannot make a sentence on their own but combine to form parts of a sentence. Parts of a sentence work together to form the structure of a sentence. A part of a sentence may be a single part of speech or may be composed of a string of these parts of speech.

Eight Parts of Speech

There are eight parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, articles, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions and prepositions. Parts of speech are single words that have a particular function in a sentence. Parts of speech may also be used in different parts of a sentence. For example, nouns and pronouns can be the subject, object or complement in a sentence.

Parts of a Sentence

Parts of speech may be combined or used singly to form a part of a sentence. In other words, each part of a sentence contains at least one part of speech. Parts of a sentence --- subject, predicate, objects, complements, phrases and clauses --- form the structure of a sentence.

Subject and Predicate

The simplest sentences contain only two parts: subject and predicate. The subject is who or what is doing the action of the sentence. The subject contains a pronoun, proper noun or a noun plus an article and possibly an adjective to describe it. The predicate makes up the rest of the sentence that tells the action performed by the subject using simply a verb or a verb plus additional modifiers, objects or phrases.

Objects and Complements

Objects are nouns or pronouns that are not part of the subject of a sentence. There are two types of objects: direct and indirect. Direct objects receive the action of a verb. For example, "She wrote a note." "Note" is the direct object of "wrote." Indirect objects indicate to or for whom the action was performed. "She wrote him a note." "Him" is the indirect object of "wrote."

Complements may be nouns, pronouns or adjectives. A complement renames or describes the subject or object of a sentence. For example, "Ann is a teacher" or "Ann is nice." "Teacher" and "nice" are both complements of the subject "Ann." In "Ann gave me a new book," "new" is a complement that describes "book," the indirect object.

Phrases and Clauses

Phrases are groups of words that function as a single part of speech. A preposition plus its object make a prepositional phrase, such as "after lunch." A verb phrase consists of a verb plus the object of the verb's action: "washing dishes." Clauses are a group of words within a sentence and contain a subject and predicate. Independent clauses can stand alone as a complete sentence. Dependent clauses cannot stand alone without the rest of the sentence they are part of.

About the Author

Alissa Pond Mentzer worked in biotech research and educational publishing before becoming a freelance writer in 2005. She has contributed to textbooks for The Mcgraw-Hill Companies and National Geographic School Division and writes science articles for various websites. Mentzer earned a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University in anthropology and biological sciences.