If you are a parent of a child in primary school, you will probably be becoming aware of the increased focus on grammar and punctuation contained in the new National Curriculum. Your child’s school may have provided information about the new English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests which Year 2 and Year 6 children will be taking next summer. Depending upon when and where you went to school, you may find the information coming from school (and the terminology being used by your child) challenging.

Whether you are bewildered by the terminology used or just want to know a little more to support your child, I hope you will find this blog useful. You can click on the Parent’s Start Page to link to information about different areas of grammar and punctuation. Alternatively, enter a term in the search bar or click on a word in the cloud of labels. If you have further queries, get in touch and I will try to help where I can. You can also follow me on Twitter @grammarpuss13.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Sentence elements: the basic building blocks of sentences

To build a sentence, we need the basic building blocks of grammar and we need to put them in the correct order.  These basic building blocks are often called the sentence or clause elements:
  • Ssubject   (This position or slot in a sentence is usually filled by a noun or noun phrase.)
  • Vverb  (This position or slot in a sentence is filled by a verb or verb phrase.)
  • Oobject   (This position or slot in a sentence is usually filled by a noun or noun phrase.)
  • Aadverbial  (This position or slot in a sentence is usually filled by an adverb or adverbial phrase, often giving information about where, when or how the verb in the sentence takes place.  As a very flexible sentence element, adverbials can be added in various positions in these constructions.)
  • Ccomplement  (In primary education, this is not required terminology.  Children will often use adjectives or nouns/noun phrases in the complement position.  For information beyond the curriculum, click here.)

Examples of how these elements can be used in sentence constructions are:
SV                The sword vanished.
SVO             The sword cut the tree.
SVC             The sword was heavy
ASVO           With one strike, the sword cut the tree.
SVA              The sword lay on the ground.
ASVOA          At that moment, the knight raised the sword above his head.


For more information about words, phrases and clauses which can fill these sentence element positions or slots, click here.

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