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What is a sentence?

A sentence is a grammatically complete idea. All sentences have a noun or pronoun component called the subject, and a verb part called the predicate. David and Paige explore this division across several different example sentences. 

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hello grammarians, hello Paige. - [Voiceover] Hi, David. - [Voiceover] So today we're gonna tackle this idea of what is a sentence, as we go into this realm of language that is called syntax. And syntax is this concept of, basically grammatical order. What this word syntax literally means in Greek, is, you know, putting together and arranging, right, so it just means ordering of language. - [Voiceover] So that's, like, what a sentence is. - [Voiceover] That's what a sentence is, it's what a sentence is, it's what the components of a sentence are. And we'll go into all of that in much greater detail, but in order to do that, first of all we have to figure out what a sentence actually is. So, the definition that you and I came up with, Paige, is that a sentence is a grammatically complete idea. - [Voiceover] Right. It's a bunch of words that say one complete thing. - [Voiceover] So, all sentences have a noun or pronoun component, - [Voiceover] Mmm-hmm. - [Voiceover] Right, and that's what we call the subject. And then we have the verb part, which is the predicate. - [Voiceover] So a sentence has, it has to have like, a thing, or a noun or pronoun. - [Voiceover] Sure, that's the subject. - [Voiceover] Yeah, and something that it's doing. - [Voiceover] Sure, that's the predicate. - [Voiceover] Yeah. - [Voiceover] Okay. So let's say that we've got this sentence, the great big dog licked my face. Here is our sentence, what is the subject? - [Voiceover] Subject is the great big dog. - [Voiceover] Alright, and that means that everything that's not the subject is part of the predicate, right? - [Voiceover] Mmm-hmm. - [Voiceover] So, licked my face is the predicate. So this is the noun chunk that is performing the action of the sentence. - [Voiceover] You got it, yeah. - [Voiceover] Cool. So, all sentences have to have this, right? - [Voiceover] Yeah, they have to have a subject and a predicate, these two separate parts. - [Voiceover] So if you said, if you asked a question like, Are you named David? - [Voiceover] Okay, - [Voiceover] If you asked that of me, - [Voiceover] Mmm-hmm, - [Voiceover] Which, go ahead. - [Voiceover] Are you named David? - [Voiceover] I am. Is this a sentence, it's really short. - [Voiceover] It is very short. But, see, "I" is a pronoun, - [Voiceover] Okay, - [Voiceover] So that can be the subject. - [Voiceover] That's our subject. - [Voiceover] And, "am" is a verb. So it has a subject and a predicate. - [Voiceover] So this is the noun or pronoun part. And this is the action that it is performing. Although "am" or "being" isn't really an action, it's more of a linking verb. - [Voiceover] Sure. - [Voiceover] But it's still a verb. - [Voiceover] Okay. - [Voiceover] Okay, so this is, this is the predicate then, for sure. - [Voiceover] Yeah. - [Voiceover] Okay, so Paige. Let's say I dropped a muffin. - [Voiceover] Right, - [Voiceover] And you told me, pick up that muffin. - [Voiceover] Uh-huh. - [Voiceover] That sentence doesn't seem to have, just let me write that down. That sentence doesn't seem to have a subject. I see how all of this is predicate. - [Voiceover] Right, pick up is a verb, and then, - [Voiceover] And then the muffin is the thing that's being picked up, like that's all one thing. Where's, what goes in the blue box? - [Voiceover] I see, so when we have a sentence like this, where I'm telling you to do something, - [Voiceover] Mmm-hmm, - [Voiceover] There doesn't always have to be a subject said out loud. - [Voiceover] Okay. - [Voiceover] This is like an order, right? I'm telling you you have to pick up that muffin. - [Voiceover] So this is kinda like an invisible, secret subject. - [Voiceover] Right, the subject really is you. - [Voiceover] Okay, - [Voiceover] You pick up that muffin, but I don't have to say it out loud. - [Voiceover] Because I know that you're talking to me. Because I can tell 'cause you're looking at me, and you're yelling at me about a muffin. - [Voiceover] Yes, I am. - [Voiceover] So, a sentence is a grammatically complete idea or expression. - [Voiceover] Mmm-hmm. - [Voiceover] And it has to have a noun or pronoun part, which we call the subject, and it has to have a verb and all its baggage part, which is what we call the predicate. And sometimes that subject can sort of be implied, or invisible, as in the command. "Pick up that muffin!" - [Voiceover] Right. - [Voiceover] Cool. You can learn anything, David out. - [Voiceover] Paige out.