Sentence - Definition and Examples
A sentence in English Grammar is a combination of words which conveys a clear message i.e. the listener or reader of the sentence understands the essence of the sentence and the message that it is formed to convey.
A sentence is a meaningful combination of Noun, Pronoun, Adverb, Verb, Subject and Object made to convey a message to the listener or to the reader. Each word in a sentence must be properly placed in order to constitute a meaningful sentence. If the words are not placed where they should be then the sentence gets meaningless i.e. no message can be inferred from it or it does not convey an understandable message.
A sentence must always begin with a capital letter and it may end with a full stop (.), question mark (?) and exclamation (!) depending on the message it conveys. Go through some of the examples of sentences given below-
- I am going to office today.
- She will be singing National Anthem this Independence Day.
- We are visiting the slum children this weekend.
- They are going to be late for the party.
- My dog doesn’t like strangers.
- Have you paid the electricity bill?
- Is he studying for the exams?
- Are they defending their team mates?
- Will you stick by your commitment?
- Is the food good?
- What a beautiful day it is!
- We won the match!
- Hurray!! I got selected for the tournament!
- The weather is beautiful!
- What a cute baby!
The above sentences convey a message, be it a simple statement or a question or an exclamation; but there is no doubt that the sentences convey a clear message or information.
Let us try changing the positions of words in the above sentences and see if they are able to convey the same message or a totally different messages all together.
- I am to going office today.
- Will be she singing National Anthem this Independence Day.
- The children we are visiting of slum weekend this.
- They are for the party going to be late.
- Doesn’t dog like my strangers.
- You paid the electricity bill have?
- Studying for the exams is he?
- Defending there are they team mates?
- Will you your commitment stick by?
- Good the food is?
- Beautiful day what a it is!
- Won the we match!
- Hurray!! Got selected I for the tournament!
- The weather beautiful is!
- A what baby cute!
It is very clear from the above sentences that if the words that are parts of a sentence (like- noun, pronoun, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, subject and object) are not placed properly in their respective positions then the sentence conveys absolutely no meaning or nothing can be understood from the sentence.
Parts of a Sentence
A sentence which conveys a complete meaning, constitutes of three following parts-
- a) Subject
A subject in a sentence is the noun or pronoun being talked about or talked to in the sentence. Consider the below given sentences-
- He is going to office.
- She is booking the hotel.
- Rohit was given applause by the audience.
- Have you read the letter?
- He is really hungry.
In the above sentences – he, she, Rohit, you are the Subjects. The subject in a sentence can be identified with the help of verb. Read on further for methods to identify a subject with the help of exercises:
- b) Predicate
The part of the sentence other than the noun or pronoun is called the predicate. Read the following sentences-
- She is driving to the office.
- He is eating dinner.
- They are watching a movie.
The part of the sentence excluding the subject is called the predicate and it also has the object. The predicates of the above sentences are-
- Is driving to the office.
- Is eating dinner.
- Are watching a movie.
In a way a predicate modifies a subject; expressing what it does or what its about.
- c) Object
Object of a sentence is the noun or pronoun which or who is being acted upon in the sentence. Consider the following sentences.
- He is writing a letter.
- She is singing the song.
- They are going to the party.
In the above sentences – letter, song and party are the objects.
In the other words ‘object’ is an entity in the subject that is being acted upon.
Types of Sentences
Sentences can be classified into different types based on their functions and structures. The classification of sentences based on functions depends on the statement- whether it is declarative, inquisitive or exclamatory.
The structure classification of sentences depends on whether the sentence is a single sentence or a combination of two or more sentences.
- Sentence Classification Based on Function
Every sentence can fall in one of the five categories based on its function. The categories in which a sentence can be classified based on its function are as follows-
Declarative sentences are simple sentences those constitute a declarative statement. That is, they make a declaration about a subject, or the object and convey a simple message which ends with a full stop. For example:
- She is going on the tour.
- He was laughing.
- They were anxious.
These sentences have ‘not’ after the auxiliary verb and contradict the Declarative/Affirmative sentences indicating that it is false. Consider the following examples-
- She is not going on the tour.
- He was not laughing.
- They were not anxious.
Interrogative Sentences ask a question and always end with a question mark (?). Following are some examples of interrogative sentences-
- Where are you going?
- Is she having dinner?
- Are they listening carefully?
Imperative sentences express an order, request or advice and always end with a full stop or sometimes with an exclamation mark (!). Following are few examples of imperative sentences-
- Do your homework. (Order)
- Please close the door. (Request)
- Drive carefully! (Advice)
Exclamatory sentences express a strong feeling or emotion and always end with an exclamation (!). They may express joy, sorrow, fear, concern etc. Consider the sentences given below-
- Get off my way!
- Be careful of what you say!
- Oh my God!
- Sentences Classification Based on Structure
Sentences can be classified based on whether the clauses they are formed from are independent, or combination of independent and dependent or complex clauses. Any sentence can be classified in the following forms, based on its structure-
A simple sentence is comprised of only one clause- a main independent clause. It expresses a complete meaning with subject and verb. Following are few examples of Simple Sentences-
- Mohit is eating dinner.
- She is waiting for you.
- They are going to Paris.
A compound sentence uses coordinating conjunctions (and, for, nor, but, so, yet, or) to join two independent clauses. Following are few examples of Compound Sentences-
- Mohit is eating dinner and he is getting late.
- She is waiting for you but she is angry.
- They are going to Paris for meeting their parents.
A complex sentence constitutes of an independent clause and a dependent clause. The two clauses may be joined together by subordinate conjunctions (since, although, unless, when, because) or by relative pronouns (who, which, that etc.) Below given are some examples of complex Sentences-
- He will definitely come; although, he may arrive late.
- I am not leaving, unless you apologize for the conduct.
- They are looking for a car which has driven not more than thousand kilometers.
A Complex-Compound or a Compound-Complex sentence has two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses. Below given are few examples of Complex-Compound or Compound-Complex sentences-
- She is getting late, but she will reach on time unless there is traffic.
- He is very happy, and he will come although he may be late.
- She met an old friend, and I met an old friend who knew us both.