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The sentence, sentence structure, and sentence parts

Sentence definition

A sentence is a group of words or sub-clauses that expresses a complete idea. A sentence must contain at least one subject and one verb (sometimes the verb is followed by an object or a complement).

Types of sentences

There are 4 basic types of sentences: statement, question, exclamation, and command.

Statement sentence

It gives information and it is the most commonly used type of sentence
Example: I enjoy swimming.

Question sentence

It is used to ask for information. This type of sentence finishes with “?” (question mark).
Example: Where are you from?

Exclamation sentence

It is used to express surprise, pleasure or any other emotion. This type of sentence finishes with “!” (exclamation mark).
Examples: What a pretty bike you have!

Command sentence

It is used to tell someone what or what not to do; it’s basically a command.
Example: Stop that bike!; Be quiet!; Don’t do that!; Don’t speak!;

Parts of a sentence

In a one-clause sentence, its parts are the words (grammatical units) that form a sentence when they are put together. These parts of a sentence are: verb, pronoun, noun, adverb, adjective, article, preposition, and conjunction. In sentences which consist of more than one clause, the most important clause is called the main clause and the other clauses are known as sub-clauses. Naturally, all these clauses are formed of the same parts as single clause sentences.

Subject in a sentence

The subject is the most important part of a sentence. It can be a place, a person, a thing or an idea. The subject of a sentence can be a noun, a pronoun, a phrase or an entire clause.


Verbs in a sentence

Verbs are always part of a sentence. A sentence is incomplete without at least a verb. Some verbs tell us what the subject does and some others express what the subject is, feels etc. The verbs in the first category are classified in "transitive" and "intransitive" verbs. The verbs from the second category are called "linking verbs". They connect the subject with the complement.

Transitive verbs – A transitive verb always has an object. It is incomplete without an object.
Example: Dan found a nice place to live in Vietnam. (Found what? Without “a nice place” the sentence doesn’t make sense.)

Intransitive verbs – An intransitive verb is complete without an object.
Example: Dan arrived on Thursday.

Linking Verbs – Linking verbs are followed by information that describes the subject.
Example: Dan is an English teacher.

Objects in a sentence

Objects can be classified into 2 categories: direct objects and indirect objects. Direct objects can be identified if they answer the questions who?, whom? or what?. Indirect objects answer to the following questions: to/for, whom.

Note: If you place a preposition before "who", you must change it to "whom" or "what".

Direct object – He made big money.
Indirect object – He gave me the money.

Sentences in all human languages have similarities. There are over 1500 different languages in the world; although each language has a distinct set of words and grammar, they all have similar parts of sentence. All languages have words that function as nouns and other that function as verbs. Many parts of sentence are similar in all languages.

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