Sentences

 A sentence is a group of words that has a finite verb and a subject. 

What is a sentence? 

A sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete thought. It typically has the following characteristics:


1. Complete Thought: It conveys a full idea, not just a fragment of an idea. For example, "The cat" is not a sentence because it doesn't tell us anything complete. However, "The cat sat on the mat" expresses a complete thought and is therefore a sentence.

2. Subject and Predicate:  Most sentences have two main parts: Subjects & Predicate. Subject tells us who or what the sentence is about. It can be a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase. Predicate tells us something about the subject. It usually contains a verb and other words that modify the verb.

3. Capitalization and Punctuation: A sentence typically starts with a capital letter and ends with a period (.), question mark (?), or exclamation mark (!). However, there are exceptions, like imperatives or interjections.

Wrong: what is your name 
Right: What is your name?
Wrong: they are sleeping 
Right: They are sleeping. 

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Types of Sentences

In English, sentences can be classified in two main ways:

  1. by their function &
  2. by their structure.

By function, there are four types of sentences: 

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(1) Declarative Sentences make statements and are the most common type of sentences. They end with a period.

Example:

  • I love to read books.
  • The sun is shining brightly.
  • She plays the piano beautifully.

Structure: In a declarative sentence, the subject is before the finite verb. [Subject + Verb]

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(2) Interrogative Sentences ask questions.. They typically begin with a question word (who, what, when, where, why, how) or an auxiliary verb (is, are, can, do) and end with a question mark. 

Example:

  • Where is the nearest grocery store?
  • What time does the movie start?
  • Can you lend me your pen?

Types of Interrogative Sentences

There are two types of interrogative sentences: (i) "Yes/No questions" and "Wh-questions". 

(i) Yes/No Questions

A 'yes/no' question is a type of question that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" response. It is used to seek confirmation, agreement, or disagreement.

Structure: A 'yes/no' question begins with an auxiliary verb and ends with a question mark.  [Verb + Subject] 

Here are some examples of yes/no questions:

  • "Are you coming to the party?"
  • "Is it raining outside?"

These questions can be answered with a "yes" or "no".

(ii) Wh-questions

A wh-question is a type of question that begins with a wh-word. These questions cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" response and require more detailed answers. 

Structure: A 'wh-question' begins with a question word and ends with a question mark.  [Question Word + Verb + Subject] 

Here are some examples of wh-questions:
  • Who is coming to the party?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • When does the concert start?
  • Where is the nearest coffee shop?
  • Why did you miss the meeting?
  • How do you make a pizza?
  • Which color do you prefer?

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(3) Imperative Sentences give commands or instructions. They end with a period. 

Example:

  • Please close the door quietly.
  • Pass me the salt, please.
  • Don't forget to water the plants.

Structure: An imperative sentence begins with a verb and ends with a period [Verb + Subject] 

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(4) Exclamatory Sentences express strong emotions. They end with an exclamation mark. 

Example:

  • What a beautiful sunset!
  • I can't believe I won the lottery!
  • Wow, that performance was amazing!

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By structure, there are three types of sentences:

(1) Simple Sentences have only one independent clause. 

 

Examples:

  • She sings beautifully.
  • They went to the beach.
  • The cat is sleeping.
  • I like to read.
  • She is running.
  • The sun is shining.
  • They went to the park.

Structure: Consists of one independent clause (a complete sentence).

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(2) Complex Sentences have one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses joined by a subordinate conjunction

Examples:

1. "If it rains, we shall play the game of chess."

  • Main clause: "we shall play the game of chess."
  • Dependent clause: "If it rains."

2. "Since he worked hard, he prospered in life."

  • Main clause: "he prospered in life."
  • Dependent clause: "Since he worked hard."

3. "I missed the lesson because I was late."

  • Main clause: "I missed the lesson."
  • Dependent clause: "because I was late."

Structure: Contains an independent clause (a complete sentence) and one or more dependent clauses (incomplete sentences that rely on the independent clause).

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(3) Compound Sentences have two or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (such as and, but, or, for, nor, so, yet).

 

Examples:

1. "I received the parcel, and I paid the bill."

  • Independent clause: "I received the parcel."
  • Independent clause: "I paid the bill."

2. "He received the parcel, but he did not pay the bill."

  • Independent clause: "He received the parcel."
  • Independent clause: "he did not pay the bill."

3. "Tell me the truth, or I will punish you."

  • Independent clause: "Tell me the truth."
  • Independent clause: "I will punish you."

Structure: Contains two or more independent clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, so, for, nor, yet).

Other Types of Sentences


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(i) Compound-Complex Sentences

A compound-complex sentence is a combination of complex and compound sentences. 

Structure: Combines elements of both compound and complex sentences. It has two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.

Example:

  • "While they were watching a movie, I was reading, and she was cooking dinner."

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(ii) Optative Sentences

An optative sentence is a type of sentence used to express a wish, desire, or hope. 

The optative mood is not commonly used in modern English as the other types of sentences we discussed earlier, but it can still be found in certain contexts or in older forms of the language.

In English, optative sentences typically begin with the word "may" or "let" and express a desire for a favorable outcome or a specific action to take place. Here are some examples:

  • May you have a wonderful journey!
  • May your dreams come true.
  • Let there be peace in the world.
  • May the sunshine on your path.

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(iii) Affirmative Sentences

A sentence which gives a positive or affirmative sense is called an affirmative sentence. 

  • Shelly is a wise man. 
  • He lives in the village.

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(iv) Negative Sentences

A sentence which gives a negative sense is called a negative sentence.

Negative sentences contain negative words like- 'no', 'not', 'none', 'nothing', 'nowhere', 'never', 'neither', 'nor', etc. 

  • Shelly is not an unwise man.
  • He does not live in the town.

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(v) Run on Sentences

A run-on sentence, also known as a fused sentence, occurs when two or more independent clauses (complete sentences) are incorrectly joined together without appropriate punctuation or coordinating conjunctions. As a result, the sentence becomes long and confusing because it lacks the necessary breaks or connectors.

Run-on sentences can make it difficult for readers to understand the intended meaning and can affect the clarity and coherence of your writing.

Here's an example of a run-on sentence:

1. "I failed in the exam I was very lazy."

  • In this example, two independent clauses, "I failed in the exam" and "I was very lazy," are fused together without any punctuation or conjunction to separate them properly.

To correct this run-on sentence, you have a few options:

  1. Use a period: "I went to the store. I needed to buy some groceries."
  2. Use a semicolon: "I went to the store; I needed to buy some groceries."
  3. Use a coordinating conjunction (e.g., and, but, or): "I went to the store, and I needed to buy some groceries."
  4. Use a subordinating conjunction (e.g., because, although): "I went to the store because I needed to buy some groceries."

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(vi) Inverted Sentences

Inverted sentences are sentences in which the typical word order of subject-verb-object (SVO) is reversed or altered for various reasons.

The purpose of using inverted sentences can be to emphasize certain parts of the sentence, create a specific tone, or adhere to a particular grammatical structure. Inverted sentences often involve the inversion of the subject and the verb, but they can also involve other parts of speech.

Here are some common types of inverted sentences:

Inversion for emphasis

This type of inversion is used to highlight a specific part of the sentence. For example:

  • Never again shall I go there.
  • Only when the rain stopped did we go outside.

In these examples, the subject and verb are inverted to emphasize "never" and "only," respectively.

Question inversion

When forming a question, the subject and verb are inverted. For example:

  • Is he coming to the party?
  • Can you lend me a hand?

In these sentences, the subject "he" and "you" come after the verb "is" and "can" due to question formation.

Conditional inversion

In conditional sentences, the subject and verb are inverted in the conditional clause. For example:

  • Had I been rich, I would have helped the poor.
  • Should you need any assistance, feel free to ask.

In these examples, the subject and verb are inverted to express hypothetical or conditional situations.

Adverbial inversion

Some adverbs and adverbial phrases can be placed at the beginning of a sentence, causing the inversion of the subject and verb. For example:

  • In the distance stood a majestic mountain.
  • On the table lies a book.

In these sentences, the adverbs "in the distance" and "on the table" precede the subject and verb, leading to inversion.

Inverted sentences can add variety to your writing and create emphasis or a different tone. However, it's important to use them judiciously and ensure that the meaning remains clear to the reader.

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(vii) Cleft Sentences

A cleft sentence is a type of sentence structure that is used to emphasize or focus on a particular part of a sentence. It involves dividing a sentence into two clauses, where one clause provides background information and the other clause contains the emphasized or focused element.

Cleft sentences typically follow this structure:

It is/was + (emphasis/focus) + that/who/whom + (remaining information).

Here are some examples to illustrate cleft sentences:

1. It was Mike who broke the window.

  • This cleft sentence emphasizes the person "Mike" as the one who broke the window.

2. It is the sea where whales live.

  • Here, the focus is on the location "sea" where whales live.

3. It is the cost that concerns me the most.

  • In this sentence, the emphasized element is "the cost," indicating that it is the primary concern.

Cleft sentences allow speakers or writers to bring attention to a specific part of the sentence and highlight its importance. They can be useful for emphasizing new or contrasting information, shifting the focus of a conversation, or providing clarification. By using cleft sentences, you can create a more emphatic and impactful expression.

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(viii) Conditional Sentences

Conditional sentences express a relationship between two clauses, one representing a condition and the other representing a result or consequence.

There are several types of conditional sentences, and they are often categorized into four main types: zero, first, second, and third conditionals.

Zero Conditional

Structure: If + present simple, present simple

Function: Used for general truths and facts.

Example:

  • If you heat ice, it melts.

First Conditional

Structure: If + present simple, will + base form

Function: Used for real and possible situations in the future.

Example:

  • If it rains tomorrow, we will stay indoors.

Second Conditional

Structure: If + past simple, would + base form

Function: Used for unreal or unlikely situations in the present or future.

Example:

  • If I won the lottery, I would buy a house.

Third Conditional

Structure: If + past perfect, would have + past participle

Function: Used for unreal or regretted situations in the past.

Example:

  • If you had studied harder, you would have passed the exam."

These examples illustrate how conditional sentences can express different degrees of likelihood and reality depending on the tense used in the condition and result clauses. Conditional sentences are a way to discuss hypothetical or real scenarios and their potential outcomes.

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