Teaching Recognition of Complete Sentences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The system of sentence patterns and the slots in them provides an accessible format. Through this format, a tremendous amount of information can be stored, retrieved, and built upon. Real sentences have all kinds of embellishments, compounds, inversions, elisions, and branches. Every sentence is required to have a subject slot. A noun plus its modifiers, or a pronoun, goes into the subject slot. The subject slot tells who or what the sentence is about. Every sentence is also required to have a verb slot. The verb determines whether or not any other slots are required and what those other slots are called. Technically, an intransitive verb is a verb that does not require a direct object. Sentence diagramming gets many people excited, many upset, and many just curious because they never learned it. Knowing about the sentence patterns is not an end in itself: It is a means of facilitating further understanding of more complicated sentences.