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Sentence


Sentence


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Content

  Sentence
   Kinds of Sentences
   Elements of a Sentence
    Subject and Predicate
    Phrase and Clause
    Types of Sentences
    Parts of Speech

Sentence

In English, a word is composed of letters and each word has independent sense and meaning. Words are the basic unit for both speaking and writing in verbal communication. A word or a group of words are used to form a sentence, which makes a complete expression of sense. And grammar can be defined as the way words are used to form sentences and composes a language.

Kinds of Sentences

A sentence is an expression of sense or thought. In general, sentences can be divided into four kinds of expressions.

  1. Declarative or assertive sentences that making statements of assertions or declarations.

    John bought an ice-cream.

    He is a doctor.

    A mouse can nibble through a bag.

  2. Interrogative sentences that asking questions.

    Where do you live?

    How old are you?

    What is the time now?

  3. Imperative sentences that making commands, requests, or entreaties.

    Please be quiet.

    Be quite.

    Sit down.

    Thank you.

    Run.

    Stop.

  4. Exclamatory sentences that expressing exclamations of strong feelings.

    What a sunny day!

    What a shame!

    how very beautiful the day is!

    How very cold the night is!

As a sentence is a kind of verbal communication, the marks used to indicate the beginning and end of a complete sentence for a oral communication and a written communication are different. The beginning of a sentence in oral communication is usually started with a short pause after the end of the previous sentence and therefore the end of a sentence is also marked by a short pause also. But in written communication, the beginning of a sentence is indicated by  a capital letter, while the end of a sentence is indicated by a punctuation mark of a period ".", or a question mark "?", or an exclamation point "!".

Elements of a Sentence

Subject and Predicate

In order to make a complete sense of what a sentence is being expressed, a thing of person, persons, thing, or things, etc, must be named together with something saying about the mentioned thing in a sentence. In other words, every sentence should have two parts of information.  That is, a sentence must have at least one subject to speak about and there must have at least one thing or predicate to say or predicate about that subject.

Tom sat on the floor.

John bought an ice-cream.

Usually, the subject part comes first in a sentence and the predicate part comes after the subject part. But occasionally, the subject part comes after the predicate part.

Sweet are the uses of adversity.

Sweet are the fruits of hard work.

While in an interrogative sentences, the predicate comes first in a sentence and the subject part comes after the subject part..

How is your health?

Besides, the subject part in the imperative sentences is usually left out.

Please be quiet. (The subject "you" is understood).

Phrase and Clause

Apart from taking a sentence as a statement of an expression, the complete sense of a sentence can be broken down into some simple grammatical units, phrase and clause.

Words in a sentence can be combined together to form a phrase of incomplete sense in which no finite verb is either expressed or understood. A phrase does make sense, but not a complete sense with subject and finite verb.  And therefore the construction of a phrase is only an intermediate level of sentence construction between a single word and a sentence.

Tom sat on the floor.

I shall wait a few minutes

how to do this is a more advanced subject.

What a pity!

Similarly, words in a sentence can also be grouped together to form a clause of complete sense in which a subject and a predicate are either expressed or understood. And therefore a clause always contains a finite verb. As a clause makes a complete sense, although a clause is defined as a basic grammatical component to form part of a sentence, a clause can actually stand by itself as a complete sentence.

Tom is a boy.

She has a necklace which is made of platinum.

He uses an umbrella when it rains.

Mary is sitting and Tom is standing

Types of Sentences

According the structure of a sentence, full complete sentences can be divided into simple, complex, and compound  sentences.

  1. A simple sentence contains only one independent clause to express one simple thought about the subject.

    Tom is a boy.

  2. A complex sentence contains more than or equal to two clauses with one independent clause and at least one dependent clause to express a complex idea about the thought of the independent clause.

    She has a necklace which is made of platinum.

  3. A compound sentence contains more than or equal to two clause with at least two independent clauses to express a compound thought by joining more than one independent clause.

    Mary has a necklace, and Debra has a necklace too.

  4. A compound-complex sentence contains more than or equal to three clause with at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause to express a compound thought by joining more than one independent clause together with at least one dependent clause to express a complex idea about the thought of the independent clause.

    Mary has a city necklace, and Debra has a crown necklace that you like.

Parts of Speech

Besides considering the sense of a sentence, words in a sentence can also be divided and grouped according to their use in the sentence. The functions of words in a sentence can be divided into different kinds or classes, called parts of speech, according to the functional work in a sentence. As a word is classified according to the work it does in a sentence, a word may belong to more than one part of speech. Therefore the parts of speech cannot be used to explain which part of speech a word is, and a word is referred to the part of speech can only be confirmed when a word is used in a sentence. In general, words in a sentence can be classified into eight parts of speech, although English may also be categorized into more than 8 parts of speech. They are noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection. 

  1. Noun: A noun is usually defined as a word used to name something. Something can be a person, place, thing, idea, etc.

    Tom is a boy.

  2. Pronoun: A pronoun is usually defined as a word used to name something indirectly instead of using a noun. Something can be replaced by he, she, it, etc.

    Tom is a brave boy. He saved Jack from fire.

  3. Adjective: An adjective is usually defined as a word used to modify the meaning of something, a noun, a pronoun, by adding something additional. Something additional can be description, information, etc

    Tom is a brave boy.

  4. Verb: A verb is usually defined as a word used to express a matter of doing something about something, e.g. a noun, pronoun. A matter of doing something can be physical actions, mental actions, or states of being.

    Tom is a brave boy.

  5. Adverb: An adverb is usually defined as a word used to modify the meaning of doing something, a verb, an adjective, or an adverb, by adding some additional information. Additional information can be when, where, how, in what manner, or to what extent, etc.

    He runs quickly.

  6. Preposition: A preposition is usually defined as a word used preceding something to show how something is linked, or related, to something else in the sentence. The linkage or relationship can be in, on, at, around, above, near, of, for, etc.

    The book is on the table

  7. Conjunction: A conjunction is usually defined as a word used to specify how words or groups of words are joined together. The type of joining can be and, or, but, etc.

    I ate an apple and a banana.

  8. Interjection: An interjection is usually defined as a word used to express some sudden feeling in the form of an emotion or a sentiment with no grammatical relationship to any other part of the sentence. The type of feeling can be surprise, disgust, joy, excitement, enthusiasm, etc.

    Oh, that is good news.

Other possible part of speech is usually used to identify things in further detail.


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References

  1. Thomson A.J., Martinet A.V., 1961, A Practical English Grammar for Foreign Students, Oxford University Press, London
  2. Nesfield, J.C., 1898, Manual of English Grammar and Composition, MacMillan & Co., Limited, London
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ID: 130800183 Last Updated: 2015/4/19 Revision: 3 Ref:

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