A sentence is a group of words that makes complete sense. Each sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop, question mark, or an exclamation mark.
- Maggie is playing with a doll.
- I have completed my homework.
- Are children swimming?
- Tidy your study room immediately!
- What are you eating?
- The bakery opens at ten o’clock.
- John wrote a letter to his grandfather.
- What a beautiful picture!
- Shally loves English classes.
- Is this your pup?
The following groups of words are not sentences as they do not make complete sense. They do not begin with a capital letter or end with a full stop. ❌
- are delicious
- left for their car
- tripped on the step
- cold and damp
- ran across the field
👉 Every sentence should make sense.
To make sense, a sentence must contain a subject and a verb. A subject is a thing or a person and a verb is a doing or an action word. ✔
The tea is hot.
Subject: tea / Verb: is
The mouse squeaks.
Subject: mouse / Verb: squeaks
Subject + Verb = Sentence
Subject and Predicate
Every complete sentence contains two parts: a subject and a predicate. The subject is what (or whom) the sentence is about, while the predicate tells something about the subject.
In the following sentences, the predicate is in italics, while the subject is highlighted in bold.
- The children are playing in the park.
- Peter is having his lunch.
- The magician is wearing a colourful hat.
- Dogs live in kennels.
- Louis decided to visit India.
Usually, the subject comes before the predicate. However, at times the predicate may come before the subject.
Here comes the train.
Here comes (predicate) the train (subject).
There goes the school bus.
There goes (predicate) the school bus (subject).
A command is the only type of sentence that has no subject. The subject “you” is implied:
- Read the newspaper.
- Walk the dog and get the milk.
Phrase and Clause
A phrase is a collection of words that may have a noun or a verb but does not have a subject doing a verb. They are often referred to as a group of words that make sense but not complete sense.
- My good friend
- In a flash
- My sister
- Have a wonderful time
- Leaving behind the umbrella
- At the bus stop
- Broken into tiny pieces
In the above examples you will find nouns (friend, sister, umbrella, bus stop) and some verbs too (having, leaving), but in no case is the noun functioning as the subject doing a predicate verb. These are all phrases.
A clause is a collection of words that has a subject that is actively doing a verb.
- When the children come marching in
- Since she always laughed at him
- Miss Watson hates dishonest people
- I forgot my mobile
- All the students stopped talking
In the above examples, we find that a subject (highlighted in red), either a noun or a pronoun, is attached to a predicate verb (highlighted in green).
Type of Clauses
There are two types of clauses.
- Independent Clause (also known as Main Clause)
- Dependent Clause (also known as Subordinate Clause)
When a clause forms a complete thought or sentence, we call it an independent or main clause. Such a clause forms a complete sentence with punctuation. For example, “Miss Watson hates dishonest people.”
The clause that forms an incomplete thought or sentence is called a dependent or subordinate clause. For example, “Since she always laughed at him.”
A sentence fragment is a group of words that does not express a complete thought. A fragment is the same as a dependent clause.
Subject and Object
A person, place, or a thing is known as a subject in a sentence.
Read the following examples:
- Tom and Jerry were playing with a football.
- Peter works in this factory.
- This city has three lakes.
In each of the above sentences, there is a subject (person/place/thing) about which something is being said. The subject is highlighted in red.
Also, the subject is doing something. The receiver of the action is called the object. The object in each of the above examples is highlighted in green.
Let us look at some more examples.
- Mrs. James is teaching English.
- She bought ice cream.
- They began their work on computers.
- Mum is baking a chocolate cake.
- We have completed the painting.
In above examples:
- Subject is highlighted in red colour.
- Verb is highlighted in blue colour.
- Object is highlighted in green colour.
Types of Sentences
There are mainly 4 types of sentences. But the sentences can be divided into 7 types in total. We will discuss all types of sentences on this page.
Declarative or Assertive Sentence
A sentence which states facts, describes, or report something is called a declarative or assertive sentence.
Declarative sentences can be positive or negative. They end with a full stop (.).
- John is eating a pizza.
- My dad plays tennis every day.
- I am reading a storybook.
- Beni and Peter are good friends.
A sentence that asks a question is called an interrogative sentence. Interrogative sentences end with a question mark (?).
- Have you been to New New Zealand?
- Are they twins?
- Do you want to eat ice cream?
- When is your father arriving?
An imperative sentence gives a command or makes a request. Imperative sentences end with a full stop (.).
- Please have a seat.
- You must exercise regularly.
- Do not talk in class.
- Please get me a glass of water.
An exclamatory sentence shows strong or sudden emotion or feelings of sorrow, pity, happiness, or surprise. Exclamatory sentences end with an exclamation mark (!).
- What a beautiful flower!
- Bravo, you did a great job!
- The bull is attacking!
- What a sweet dish!
- Hey, Runaway!
Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences
Sentences can be further divided into three types.
We can make our writing interesting by using these three types of sentences.
A simple sentence is made up of one subject and one predicate. It contains a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought.
The subjects are marked in red and the verbs are marked in green.
- This bag is mine.
- The eagle soared in the air.
- Betty has boarded the train.
- It might rain today.
A compound sentence is made up of two or more simple sentences. They are joined by ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, ‘yet’, ‘so’ or ‘for’, which are known as conjunctions. Each simple sentence is independent and complete in itself.
- The sun rose. (Simple sentence)
Everything looked bright. (Simple sentence)
The sun rose and everything looked bright. (Compound sentence)
- We were caught in a traffic jam. (Simple sentence)
We still made it on time. (Simple sentence)
We were caught in a traffic jam but we still made it on time.
- It might snow tomorrow. (Simple sentence)
It might be fine. (Simple sentence)
It might snow tomorrow or it might be fine. (Compound sentence)
A complex sentence is made up of one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses that are dependent on the main clause to make complete sense.
The flat had been emptied for many years before we bought it.
Here the main clause, “The flat had been emptied for many years” is a complete sentence in itself but the dependent clause, “before we bought it” does not make any sense on its own and is dependent on the main clause.
- Peter and Susan went to the park after they had finished their homework.
- The teacher returned the homework after she had checked it.
- Our next-door neighbours have a noisy dog who barks all day long.
- The children had to stay inside as it was raining.
In the above examples, the text in green colour is a complete sentence while text in deep pink colour is a dependent clause.
Transformation of Sentences
When we change a sentence from one grammatical form to another without changing its sense or meaning, it is known as the transformation of the sentence.
Reymond is the best boy in the class. We may write it as:
No other boy in the class is as good as Reymond.
The above example shows the transformation of a positive or affirmative sentence into a negative sentence. We can transform a negative sentence into a positive sentence too.
- She is stronger than me.
I am not as strong as her.
- Ted’s mother bakes the most delicious cakes.
No one bakes as delicious cakes as Ted’s mother.
- I am not as jovial as Cathy.
Cathy is more jovial than me.
- No one has a better collection of storybooks than me.
I have the best collection of storybooks.
- He is sure to become the school prefect.
No one but he will become the school prefect.
We can transform a sentence by inserting or deleting the “too” adverb.
- These mangoes are too cheap to be good.
These mangoes are so cheap that they cannot be good.
- He is too old to climb the stairs.
He is so old that he cannot climb the stairs.
- The project is too good to be true.
The project is so good that it cannot be true.
- He is so strong that no one can beat him.
He is too strong to be beaten.
- Alicia is so small that she cannot chew food properly.
Alicia is too small to chew food properly.
We can transform a sentence by changing it from direct to indirect speech or voice.
- Roger said, “Ben, I will meet you tomorrow.”
Roger told Ben that he would meet him the next day.
- “Where do you live?” the guard asked Stephen.
The guard asked Stephen where he lived.
- The teacher said, “The Earth moves around the Sun.”
The teacher told that the Earth moves around the Sun.
- The teacher said, “Children, have you brought your homework?”
The teacher asked the children if they had brought their homework.
- Katty said, “I stood first in the class.”
Katty said that she had stood first in the class.
We can transform a sentence by changing it from direct to indirect speech or voice.
- John said that his mother was cooking dinner.
John said, “My mother is cooking dinner.”
- The team said that they would work hard for the next match.
The team said, “We will work hard for the next match.”
- Collin told his friend that his grandfather would be coming to stay with him in the coming week.
Collin said to his friend, “My grandfather will be coming to stay with me next week.”
- Alex said that the baby is sleeping.
Alex said, “The baby is sleeping.”
- Darcy said that he would always help the needy.
Darcy said, “I will always help the needy.”
A sentence can also be transformed by changing one part of speech to another.
- The storybook costs ten dollars. (Verb)
The cost of the storybook is ten dollars. (Noun)
- He replied rudely. (Adverb)
He gave a rude reply. (Adjective)
- The army fought bravely. (Verb)
The army put up a brave fight. (Noun)
- Her dress was untidy. (Adjective)
She was untidily dressed. (Adverb)
- He examined the documents carefully. (Adverb)
He examined the documents with care. (Noun)
An exclamatory sentence can be transformed into an assertive sentence and vice versa.
- What a beautiful garden!
It is a very beautiful garden.
- What a good idea!
It is a very good idea.
- That we should meet after so many years!
It is strange that we should meet after so many years.
- She is very clever.
How clever she is!
- He leads a most unhappy life.
Alas! He leads a most unhappy life.
Idiom of the Day
The Idioms Dictionary explains common English idioms that are popular worldwide, especially in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand.
- Prateek July 24, 2021