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Sentence Meaning: Investigate Essential Words

In this worksheet, students consider which words in a sentence are essential and which can be deleted without affecting the meaning.

'Sentence Meaning: Investigate Essential Words' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Writing: Composition

Curriculum subtopic:   Sentence Awareness

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

When we write a sentence some of the words are essential (absolutely necessary) but others can be left out without changing the meaning of the sentence.

Look at this sentence:

The small boy walked down the narrow lane with his black dog.

 

If we take out all the adjectives (small, narrow, black) we end up with:

The boy walked down the lane with his dog.

This is still a complete sentence and the meaning is the same, although we have lost some of the detail.

 

If we take out the little words like 'the' as well, we get:

boy walked down lane with dog

This still means the same thing, but it is no longer a complete sentence. It is more like what we write when we are making notes.

 

If we take out the verb (walked) or the nouns (boy, lane, dog) it no longer makes sense at all.

boy down lane with dog

walked down lane

 

In this worksheet you will investigate what happens when different words are missed out of sentences.

Read this sentence.

 

The small girl played with her little kitten.

 

Now look at the sentence with some words missed out and decide whether it still makes sense or not.

 

The girl played with her kitten.

makes sense

no longer makes sense

Here is the full sentence again.

 

The small girl played with her little kitten.

 

Does it make sense with different words missed out?

 

small girl little kitten

makes sense

no longer makes sense

Now read this sentence.

 

Jacob rode his blue bike along the footpath by the lake.

 

Does it still make sense like this?

 

Jacob rode bike along footpath by lake

makes sense

no longer makes sense

Here is the full sentence again.

 

Jacob rode his blue bike along the footpath by the lake.

 

Does it still make sense like this?

 

rode bike along footpath by lake

makes sense

no longer makes sense

This time, read the sentence and then tick the words that can be missed out without changing the meaning of the sentence.

 

Tick three boxes.

 

The red parrot squawked angrily at the hissing cat.

red

cat

parrot

squawked

angrily

hissing

Read the sentence and then tick the words that can be missed out without changing the meaning of the sentence.

 

Tick two boxes.

 

The cheeky monkey threw its banana at the angry zookeeper.

cheeky

monkey

threw

banana

angry

zookeeper

This time, read the sentence and then tick all the shortened versions that still make sense (even if they are not complete sentences).

 

Tick three boxes.

 

The clever squirrel stole the nuts from the bird feeder.

The squirrel stole the nuts from the bird feeder.

squirrel stole nuts from bird feeder

clever squirrel stole bird feeder

clever squirrel stole nuts from bird feeder

stole nuts from bird feeder

Read the sentence and then tick all the shortened versions that still make sense (even if they are not complete sentences).

 

Tick three boxes.

 

The angry farmer chased the mooing cows back into the muddy field.

farmer chased cows into field

farmer chased cows back into muddy field

The angry farmer chased the muddy field.

The farmer chased the cows into the field.

angry farmer cows into field

This time, rewrite the sentence without changing the meaning and so that it is still a complete sentence.

 

Miss out one word.

 

The small mouse scampered out of its hole.

Do the same thing with this sentence but choose two words to miss out.

 

Remember, the shortened version must still be a complete sentence!

 

Olivia put on her warm coat and stripey gloves.

  • Question 1

Read this sentence.

 

The small girl played with her little kitten.

 

Now look at the sentence with some words missed out and decide whether it still makes sense or not.

 

The girl played with her kitten.

CORRECT ANSWER
makes sense
EDDIE SAYS
This is still a complete sentence and it means the same thing. The missing words are adjectives, which add detail but are not essential.
  • Question 2

Here is the full sentence again.

 

The small girl played with her little kitten.

 

Does it make sense with different words missed out?

 

small girl little kitten

CORRECT ANSWER
no longer makes sense
EDDIE SAYS
This time the verb (played) has been missed out so it doesn't make sense any more.
  • Question 3

Now read this sentence.

 

Jacob rode his blue bike along the footpath by the lake.

 

Does it still make sense like this?

 

Jacob rode bike along footpath by lake

CORRECT ANSWER
makes sense
EDDIE SAYS
It is not a complete sentence any more but it still makes sense. We know what Jacob was doing.
  • Question 4

Here is the full sentence again.

 

Jacob rode his blue bike along the footpath by the lake.

 

Does it still make sense like this?

 

rode bike along footpath by lake

CORRECT ANSWER
no longer makes sense
EDDIE SAYS
This one doesn't make sense because we no longer know who was riding the bike.
  • Question 5

This time, read the sentence and then tick the words that can be missed out without changing the meaning of the sentence.

 

Tick three boxes.

 

The red parrot squawked angrily at the hissing cat.

CORRECT ANSWER
red
angrily
hissing
EDDIE SAYS
The important words are the nouns (cat and parrot) and the verb (squawked). The other words add detail but are not essential.
  • Question 6

Read the sentence and then tick the words that can be missed out without changing the meaning of the sentence.

 

Tick two boxes.

 

The cheeky monkey threw its banana at the angry zookeeper.

CORRECT ANSWER
cheeky
angry
  • Question 7

This time, read the sentence and then tick all the shortened versions that still make sense (even if they are not complete sentences).

 

Tick three boxes.

 

The clever squirrel stole the nuts from the bird feeder.

CORRECT ANSWER
The squirrel stole the nuts from the bird feeder.
squirrel stole nuts from bird feeder
clever squirrel stole nuts from bird feeder
  • Question 8

Read the sentence and then tick all the shortened versions that still make sense (even if they are not complete sentences).

 

Tick three boxes.

 

The angry farmer chased the mooing cows back into the muddy field.

CORRECT ANSWER
farmer chased cows into field
farmer chased cows back into muddy field
The farmer chased the cows into the field.
  • Question 9

This time, rewrite the sentence without changing the meaning and so that it is still a complete sentence.

 

Miss out one word.

 

The small mouse scampered out of its hole.

CORRECT ANSWER
The mouse scampered out of its hole.
EDDIE SAYS
If you wrote 'small mouse scampered out of its hole' it would still make sense but it wouldn't be a complete sentence any more.
  • Question 10

Do the same thing with this sentence but choose two words to miss out.

 

Remember, the shortened version must still be a complete sentence!

 

Olivia put on her warm coat and stripey gloves.

CORRECT ANSWER
Olivia put on her coat and gloves.
EDDIE SAYS
Missing out the adjectives ('warm' and 'stripey') does not change the meaning of the sentence.
---- OR ----

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