Sentences and Punctuation

A basic sentence has a subject and a verb:


Some verbs need an object too:


Simple sentences have just one main verb:

  • Suddenly, I saw the light.
  • I dreamt about cheese.
  • The ball fell to my feet, without a sound.

Compound sentences join two simple sentences with the connectives ‘and’, ‘because’ or ‘so’:

  • I couldn’t find my shoes so I was late.
  • He wanted to know and he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
  • I was lost because I had never been here before.

Complex sentences are made up of a main clause (with a main verb) and a subordinate clause (also with a verb but the clause does not make sense on its own):


Comma splicing occurs  when two sentences are joined with a comma:

very_angry_emoji I went to the park, it was eerily quiet.

smiling_emoji_with_eyes_opened I went to the park and it was eerily quiet.

smiling_emoji_with_eyes_opened I went to the park; it was eerily quiet

smiling_emoji_with_eyes_opened I went to the park. It was eerily quiet.

Run on sentences are like comma splicing but no punctuation is used at all:

very_angry_emoji He wondered if he would win it seemed unlikely.

smiling_emoji_with_eyes_opened He wondered if he would win though it seemed unlikely.

smiling_emoji_with_eyes_opened He wondered if he would win; it seemed unlikely.

smiling_emoji_with_eyes_opened He wondered if he would win. It seemed unlikely.

As well as being accurate, you need to use a variety of punctuation.

 use a rhetorical question(s)

!  exclamation – do not overuse and only use one at a time!

 used to introduce an idea or a list

 used to link two independent clauses together

Colons introduce an idea or a list. When introducing an idea, the colon can be replace with ‘and that is/was’ or similar:

  • At that very moment, it all became clear: he must kill him.
  • I knew what was different about her: the bright green hair.
  • I didn’t have much to buy: bread, milk and a gun.

The part of the sentence that comes before the colon must make sense on its own (i.e. be a complete sentence in its own right).

Semi-colons link two independent clauses together:





Phrases, simply speaking, are groups of two or more words.


Therefore, a noun phrase is a noun with its article or pronoun and adjectives which add more detail or information about the noun. In the example above, the noun ‘dog’ has been made more specific: ‘old’, ‘tired’, ‘with no tail’.

The two adjectives themselves form an adjectival phrase. Again, this simply means ‘more than one adjective’ Another adjectival phrase which could replace ‘old, tired’ in the example above could be ‘brown and spotty’, where two adjectives are joined by the connective ‘and’.

A adjectival phrase could also start with a preposition, like ‘with’ above, to add more information answering the question WHICH ONE? As it starts with a prepositional, it is also called a prepositional phrase.


Every sentence must have at least one verb to be a fully formed sentence. Verbs are doing, being or having words. In the example above, ‘slept’ is the verb as it is what the subject of the sentence, the dog, is doing.


To add more information to the verb, we can use adverbs (like ‘soundly’ above which addressed HOW the dog slept) and adverbial phrases. These answer the questions HOW (the manner in which) something is being done, WHERE is it happening or WHEN is it happening. Remember, a phrase is just more than one word so an adverbial phrase is where a group of words act like an adverb. In the example above ‘on the rug’ tells us WHERE the dog slept. As the phrase ‘on the rug’ beings with ‘on’, a preposition, it is also called a prepositional phrase.

Other useful terms:

Definite article: the – refers to a particular noun

The man entered the room.

Indefinite article: a / an – refers to any noun, or it is not important which noun

A dog ran across the road.

Possessive Pronoun: my, your, his, her, our, their

These show ownership of the noun, e.g. my old shoe, his football.

Relative pronoun: that, who, whom, whose, or which

These can introduce adverbial and adjectival phrases, e.g. the book that everyone was talking about…, his sister who was always late…


The subject of the sentence (shown in bold below) is the person or thing which is doing, being or having the verb.

The boy kicked the ball.
The girl was seven years old.
I had no money.
Education is very important.


Christmas Home Learning

I know you need time to relax and enjoy the festive period but please make sure cover the following while you are off:

1) Revise for your mock exam;

2) Complete the Doddle tasks assigned (old task on poetry and a new one on comma

3) Plan your speech: either learn your existing speech (monument for Trafalgar Square) or plan a new one entitled ‘Why I love…’. You need to be able to talk without reading it.

Have a great holiday.