Teaching Sentence Writing

As a teacher, you’ll find that teaching students how to write sentences doesn’t just happen in the primary grades. Although that is where it starts, students often need practice and guidance throughout their school years as their sentences get more and more complicated. The first thing you need to do is make sure you understand the basics of a sentence so that you can help your students to understand them too.

A simple sentence – A simple sentence must have a subject and a predicate, which means that it must contain a noun and a verb and be a complete thought. It will often have more than one subject or more than one predicate, like in this sentence, "Amy and her dog went for a walk."

A complex sentence – A complex sentence will often start with a word like if, after, when, because, while, before, as, or even though. It has one independent clause (it can stand on its own as a complete sentence) and one or more dependent clauses (they need the independent clause to make a complete sentence). For example, "If I do this for you, I expect your room to be clean."

Subject-verb agreement – The subject, the noun that the sentence is about, must be matched with the correct verb. Most of the time, if you use a singular noun, you use a singular verb. If you use a plural noun, you need to use a plural verb. For example, we wouldn’t write, "Elizabeth work at the library." We would write, "Elizabeth works at the library."

Capitalization and punctuation – While there are many rules to be learned here, there is one that every writer must use without fail. Start a sentence with a capital letter and end it with a punctuation mark.

Time4Writing provides practice in this area. Sign up for our Elementary Sentence Structure course or browse other related courses below to find a course that’s right for you.