We use language to communicate with each other as an intelligent species. Since prehistoric times, humans have communicated with each other with the help of one or the other form of language. For instance, since using hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt and stone writings in the ancient Mayan civilisations, language and its impact have developed beyond what these civilisations’ societies could ever imagine.
One of the most prominent languages used in the global society of today is English. However, to say that the English syntax and grammar is a bit taxing to understand would be an understatement.
In reality, it takes people years to become proficient in the language. Therefore, for sound grammar skills, you must understand the basics of the English language before you try and work on other areas of English grammar. Below is an in-depth look into sentences.
What is a Sentence?
By definition, in linguistics, a sentence is defined as a string of words in an order that expresses a complete thought, i.e. it has a subject and a predicate. In other words, a sentence is an arrangement of words in an order that communicates complete thought within the grammatical rules of the language.
A string of words that does not make complete sense or makes partial sense for communicating thought between two parties is a phrase. The difference between a phrase and a sentence is that a phrase can not make complete sense on its own when isolated, but a sentence can make complete sense even without much context
Some examples of sentences are:
I will get up at 5 AM.
Sonia is playing in the snow.
Raj wants to eat pizza for dinner.
Who are you meeting with today?
Then again, some examples of phrases are:
Now that we understand the difference between a sentence and a phrase, we can look at how sentences are made.
What makes a Sentence?
The anatomy of a sentence is simple to understand. As mentioned above, a sentence must have two important features to make sure it makes sense. These two main parts of any sentence are the subject of the sentence and the sentence’s predicate.
The subject of a sentence is often defined as the object of interest in the sentence. Simply put, the subject of a sentence is defined as the thing the sentence is talking about. For instance, in the sentence- “Jacob is visiting the public library.”, “Jacob” is the subject of the sentence because the rest of the sentence is about him
The predicate of a sentence can be defined in two ways. Firstly, it can be defined as the part of a sentence that is not the subject. For example, in the sentence- “Jacob is visiting the public library.”, the predicate is “is visiting the public library” because the subject is Jacob.
Secondly, a predicate can also be defined as the main content verb concerning the subject. For example, in the sentence- “Rohit likes music.”, the predicate is “likes” because it defines the subject’s main verb.
How to classify Sentences?
Now that we understand how sentences are formed, it is important to learn how they can be classified into various types of sentences based on different classifications in the English language. Broadly speaking, sentences can be classified in one of two ways:
By structure, we use the clause structure of the sentence to classify the sentence into different categories. The clause structure of a sentence is the number of clauses in a sentence. Types of sentences based on structure are- simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex sentences.
By function, we use the speech act, or the intention of the sentence to define the sentence into categories.
To express or communicate what we want to say, we sometimes use different kinds of sentences. Here, we will talk about four different types of sentences: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory; each has its functions and patterns.
We use them to convey facts and ideas, in other words, they are used to declare something. These are by far the most used kind of sentence in writing and speaking.
Think about your communication in daily life. Most of our communication is to give or take information. We speak to people about what we desire to know, we provide the answers to their questions, we share different ideas and opinions we have. This kind of communication is conveyed through declarative sentences.
Here are a few examples:
We use this type of sentence to make a plea or to give a command. Imperative sentences usually end with a full stop, but under some circumstances, they can end with a note of exclamation (i.e., exclamation mark).
Types of Imperative Sentences
This type of imperative sentence is to wish someone or to make a polite request. For eg, excuse me, please!
This type of imperative sentence is for inviting someone, for eg- Please join me for a coffee.
These imperative sentences convey a command or request, such as, “Stop playing around and help me!
This type of imperative sentence gives a command. For eg- Take right and go straight.
Here are a few examples-
Never hate a person who teaches you.
Take a right and go straight.
Don’t be so scared of his attitude.
Don’t rush or you will forget your belongings.
Read more to write well.
Write whenever you get a chance.
This type of sentence asks a question. Interrogative sentences must end with an inquiry and a question mark.
These types of sentences are mostly used when someone wants some information and they pose a question.
Three main question types fall under interrogative sentence-
Do you want lunch? (No, thank you.)
Where do you play? (In Park.)
Do you want tea or ice tea? (Tea please.)
When you make a statement that shows any emotion and ends with an exclamation mark, this is called an exclamatory sentence. These are often used within the English language and are useful to have in your vocabulary as a way of expressing yourself.
Exclamative sentences are rarely used in academic writing, except when they appear in quoted material, which would likely be rare in that field. Please be cautious that the overuse of exclamations and exclamation points in essays, speeches, non-fiction, or fiction makes it look amateur. Use exclamations only when necessary, such as in a direct quote or dialogue.
Jesus! He scared the hell out of me!
You were supposed to be here yesterday!
Hurray! We won the football match.
It's a girl!
Points to Remember
To conclude, a sentence is an arrangement of words that follows the grammatical rules of a language to communicate a thought in a complete sense. Any sentence can be broken down into two main components, the subject of the sentence and the sentence’s predicate.
Moreover, a sentence can be further classified into various subcategories by structure or by function. By function, there are four types of sentences- declarative, imperative, interrogative and exclamatory., They are categories that serve different speech acts or intentions behind a sentence.
Here, we have discussed different kinds of sentences with examples, now let us go through some solved examples and frequently asked questions.
Which of these is a Declarative Sentence?
a. Will you go to the mall with me?
b. Wow, you performed well!
c. I am a student at Chintels Strong School.
Which of These is an Interrogative Sentence?
a. You won the award!
b. Can you play Cricket?
c. He has red hair and green eyes.
Which of These is an Exclamatory Sentence?
a. You are a fifth-grade student.
b. What an amazing day!
c. What is your location?
Please add the correct punctuation on the given sentences. Punctuation means periods(full stop), exclamation points, and question marks.
Maria is a teacher at our school._______
Who is your mother?__________
What a crazy movie! __________