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How to Dissect a Sentence


Each word in a sentence must serve a particular function, and the order of those words make a sentence complete. The strength of the sentence depends on its overall syntax and grammar. Dissecting a sentence involves identifying each word and the function it serves. Making sure each sentence contains a subject, action phrase and whole idea is the final test in identifying a complete sentence, says Cabrillo College.

Find the subject of the sentence. The subject is typically the noun -- the person, place or thing -- in the sentence. "Fred," the person, is the subject of the sentence "Fred likes reading," for example.

Find the verb phrase. The verb is the word — or words — that denote the action in each sentence. More specifically, a verb phrase is composed of multiple words to make up the action.

Look for adjectives. Adjectives are the descriptive elements of each sentence. "Brown," the description, is the adjective in the sentence "Brown bunnies hop," for instance.

Search for pronouns. Pronouns are modifications -- and replacements -- for standard nouns. Some examples of pronouns are: I, he or she, him, her, you, them.

Look for adverbs. Adverbs modify the standard verb by describing how and when the action is taking place. "Eat" is a verb. If someone says that that you "eat enthusiastically," the word "enthusiastically" is an adverb.

About the Author

Jeffery Keilholtz began writing in 2002. He has worked professionally in the humanities and social sciences and is an expert in dramatic arts and professional politics. Keilholtz is published in publications such as Raw Story and Z-Magazine, and also pens political commentary under a pseudonym, Maryann Mann. He holds a dual Associate of Arts in psychology and sociology from Frederick Community College.

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