Technical Tuesday: Simple Sentences

Simple Sentences
Getting A Good Nugget

In order to write anything compelling, it is helpful to start at the beginning. Today we are going to start building our toolbox from the simple sentence. From here, we will learn how to make sentences more complex and how to make our sentences more compelling. 

The parts of an English sentence are subject and predicate.


Subject: The noun, pronoun or noun phrase which gives the information what will be discussed, acted up or described. 

Predicate: The verb and everything that follows the verb

Phrase: The smallest part of a sentence in which related words are grouped together.

Clause: A unit of grammar which contains a subject and a verb.

Independent Clause: A subject and verb which express one complete idea.

Ok, these are all of the points of grammar we are going to deal with today. Everything else from here is more complicated. For the sake of time and simplicity, we will deal with noun phrases later. All sentences set forth an idea. 

Simple Subjects: A single idea to organize a sentence around. A single noun word  or pronoun word (but the noun word or pronoun word may be plural.) For example Mary, dog, Chicago, cards, she, it, they. The only other words that should be in a simple subject is an article (the, a, an).

Simple Predicate: Just a verb. 

Subject + Predicate = An Independent Clause

Mary ran.

A dog barked.

Chicago slept.

The cards fell.

She blinked.

It folds.

They laughed.

These are the simplest form of sentences there are. Now we are going to go back to last week's Techincal Tuesday blog post and play with our punctuation marks and see how they function in these sentences.

Mary ran!

A dog barked?

Chicago slept.

The cards fell.

She blinked!

It folds?

They laughed.

Now, if we rearrange the these unrelated sentences, varying the punctuation perhaps we can tell one, very short, possibly hokey story in a single paragraph.

Chicago slept. It folds? She blinked. A dog barked? Mary ran. The cards fell. They laughed!

Well that looks a little sci-fi ish.

From here everything gets more complicated. A nugget is your idea that expressed as compressed as is possible. Now if you are going to do National Novel Writing Month, and you are building out your ideas, ask yourself, what is that gem around which your story is organized? Can you write that basic idea in just a few words? Just how few? For me, I can state my NaNo novel is going to be based around the idea, "Mary ran." In fact, I would bet that exact sentence is going to be in my opening scene. 

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