What Are the Different Parts of a Sentence?

The five main parts of a sentence are:

  • Subject
  • Predicate
  • Clause
  • Phrase
  • Modifier



In general, the subject refers to the part of the sentence which tells whom or what the sentence is addressing. The subject is going to be either a noun or a noun phrase.

For example, “Kelly walked down the street.” Kelly is the subject, because she is the actor, or subject, in the sentence.

There are a few different types of subjects. The underlined word is the subject.

  • Simple subject: Kate is a thin girl.
  • Full subject: Jeffrey’s poem about his mother made the class cry.
  • Compound subject: Paul and Tommy joined the soccer team at the same time.


Let us return to our example “Kelly walked down the street.” In this sentence, “walked” is the predicate because it is the verb that tells us what Kelly is doing. A sentence can have just a subject and a predicate. For example, you could just say “Kelly walked” and you have a complete sentence.

Here are the types of predicates.

  • Simple predicate: Harry ate his apple.
  • Full predicate: The mouse slowly ran towards the food.
  • Compound predicate: She both laughed and cried at the film.


A clause is usually some sort of additional information to the sentence. We could say “They like ice cream.” However, we could also say “They like ice cream on hot days.” “They like ice cream” can stand by itself, but “on hot days” adds something extra to the sentence. Therefore, “on hot days” is a clause.

There are two different types of clauses:

  • Dependent clauses – “On hot days” is an example of a dependent clause because it could not stand by itself as a sentence.
  • Independent clauses – “Paul washed the dishes, but he didn’t want to.” “He didn’t want to” could be a sentence by itself; however, here it is connected to the larger sentence.


A phrase is sort of like a dependent clause. It is a group of words that cannot stand alone as a sentence, but it can be used to add something to a sentence. There are a few different types of phrases:

  • A noun phrase acts as a noun. For example, “the hungry cat” is a noun phrase.
  • An adjective phrase modifies a noun. The child playing hopscotch was happy.
  • An adverb phrase begins with a preposition and acts as an adverb. “On a hot day” from earlier is an example.
  • A prepositional phrase is made up of a preposition, its objects, and its modifiers. The house on the corner was old.


As you can see from above, there are many different types of ways to add additional information to a sentence. All of these examples are known under the general category of modifiers.



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