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chapter 4.4 Completers and Modifiers: Recognizing the Difference Between Completers and Subjects

Don't confuse completers with subjects.

It's important to see the difference between nouns or pronouns acting as subjects and those acting as completers.

At birth, a baby has three hundred thirty bones.
The verb is has. "Who or what has?" -- baby = subject.
"Baby has whom or what?" -- bones = completer.

During growth, many small bones fuse.
Verb = fuse. "Who or what fuse?" --bones = subject.
"Bones fuse whom or what? -- no answer, no completer.

Only two-hundred-six bones finally support an adult's body.
Verb = support. "Who or what support?" --bones = subject.
"Bones support whom or what?" -- body = completer.

To analyze a sentence, always look first for the verb (see Chapter 2 for more help). Then find the subject by asking "Who or what (verb)?" Finally, check to see whether there is a completer by asking, "(Subject + verb) whom or what?" The subject usually comes before the verb, and a completer usually comes after the verb.

Extra Note: We can sort completers further into several groups.

  • Jackie brought some coffee with her.
  • She offered me a sip.
  • It was rich.
  • That sip was a tonic for my bad mood.
  • I consider Jackie my most thoughtful friend.
Each of the completers above performs a slightly different function in its sentence. If you want to learn the differences among these functions, your teacher may give you information and exercises to help you explore these groups in more detail.

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