A conceptual understanding of modularity in internal combustion engines (defined as design, operation, and sensing on an individual cylinder basis) is presented. Three fundamental modular concepts are identified. These are dissimilar component sizing and operation, component deactivation, and direct sensing. The implementation of these concepts in spark ignition internal combustion engines is presented. Several modular approaches are reviewed with respect to breathing, fueling, power generation, and sensing. These include dissimilar orientation, geometry, and activation of multiple induction runners, partial or total disablement of valves through direct or indirect means, dissimilar fueling of individual cylinders, skipping the combustion event of one or more cylinders, deactivation of dissimilar individual cylinders or a group of cylinders, and individual cylinder gas pressure and mixture strength sensing. A critical review of each approach is presented in terms of its rationale, benefits, implementation, and limitations.