Parts of a Sentence

SUBJECT : the Subject of a sentence is the noun or pronoun who does the verb, the person or thing that the sentence is mainly about. My friends and I went out to a party. It was too crowded and loud. The neighbors kept complaining about the noise. The police were called. The party broke up. We came home.

In most English sentences the Subject comes first. That often happens in Latin, too, but not necessarily . In Latin, the Subject is always in the nominative case.

DIRECT OBJECT : The Direct Object (D.O.) receives the action of the verb. Some students have called the DO “the victim of the verb”. It is Direct because there is no preposition needed; the action goes directly to the object, with no intermediary phrases or words. My friends invited me and my room-mate . We accepted the invitation. We all drank root beer and watched videos .

The usual word order pattern, or sequence, for English sentences is {Subject}, {Verb}, {DO}. A common (but not necessary, not always) pattern in Latin is {Subject}, {DO}, {Verb}. (In the Star Wars movies, Yoda used a Latin word order, with the verb at the end: “Tired I am”.) In English we depend on word order to convey meaning, but in Latin we use the cases, or the endings, to carry the meaning. (For instance, in English “Women pursue men” and “Men pursue women” have all the same words, and it is only the change in word order that changes the meaning. In Latin that couldn’t happen, because the Subject and Direct Object are identified by their cases, their endings, not word order.)

In Latin, the DO is in the accusative case.

TRANSITIVE VERB: A transitive verb takes a DO. He kicked my cat. We drove his car . They ate their dinner. Caesar conquered Gaul. Police broke up the party and arrested the troublemakers .

INTRANSITIVE VERB: An intransitive verb has no “victim”, or no DO. “We talked for hours about our plans.” There is no direct object because the verb, “talked”, isn’t done directly TO anyone or anything. “I walked from Maine to Mexico and from Boulder to Birmingham”. “A bomb exploded at noon.” “The bells ring in the morning and at night.” “I slept like a baby.” “They arrived early.” None of these have direct objects, so they are intransitive .

LINKING VERB: A verb that states that one thing (the subject) equals another (the subject complement). “Caesar was Dictator for life.” “Quintus is a Roman boy.” “The children will be tired soon.” “We were the teacher’s favorites.” Sally became bored and restless. The most common linking verb is the verb “to be”.

SUBJECT COMPLEMENT: A noun, pronoun or adjective that completes the meaning following a linking verb. “Caesar was a great general .” “Quintus is a Roman boy .” “The children will be tired soon.” “We were the teacher’s favorites.” “Sally became bored and restless.”

In Latin, the subject and the subject complement are both in the Nominative case .

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE: A preposition is generally followed immediately by its object, the noun or pronoun that it affects. This is true in both English and Latin. “to the house”, “from the beginning”, “after the show”, “over the moon”, etc. Latin examples: ad agrum, ex casa, in Italia, in viam, cum amico. A prepositional phrase is never the subject, verb, direct object or subject complement of the sentence; it never includes a verb. It consists only of a preposition and its object, which is a noun or a pronoun, plus occasionally an adjective — as in magna cum laude, with great praise.