Understanding sentence is helpful in mastering proper grammar and other essential grammar concepts. This page will quickly give you a foundation in sentence. The proper construction of sentences is very important to good writing.
SentencesKind of Sentences
1. Declarative; a sentence that tells or declares something; as, That book is mine.
2. Imperative; a sentence that expresses a command; as, Bring me that book.
3. Interrogative; a sentence that asks a question; as, Is that book mine?
4. Exclamatory; a declarative, imperative, or interrogative sentence that expresses violent emotion, such as terror, surprise, or anger; as, You shall take that book! or, Can that book be mine?
Construction of Sentences
The proper construction of sentences is very important to good writing. The following simple rules will be of great assistance in sentence formation. They should be carefully learned and the pupil should be drilled in them.
1. Let each sentence have one, and only one, principal subject of thought. Avoid heterogeneous sentences.
2. The connection between different sentences must be kept up by adverbs used as conjunctions, or by means of some other connecting words at the beginning of the sentence.
3. The connection between two long sentences or paragraphs sometimes requires a short intervening sentence showing the transition of thought.
Elements of a Sentence
Sometimes a word adds nothing to the meaning of the sentence, but helps to fill out its form or sound, and serves as a device to alter its natural order. Such a word is called an Expletive. In the following sentence there is an expletive: There are no such books in print.
A sentence is made up of distinct parts or elements. The essential or Principal Elements are the Subject and the Predicate.
The Subject of a sentence is the part which mentions that about which something is said. The Predicate is the part which states that which is said about the subject. Man walks. In this sentence, man is the subject, and walks is the predicate.
The subject may be simple or modified; that is, may consist of the subject alone, or of the subject with its modifiers. The same is true of the predicate. Thus, in the sentence, Man walks, there is a simple subject and a simple predicate. In the sentence, The good man walks very rapidly, there is a modified subject and a modified predicate.
There may be, also, more than one subject connected with the same predicate; as, The man and the woman walk. This is called a Compound Subject. A Compound Predicate consists of more than one predicate used with the same subject; as, The man both walks and runs.
Besides the principal elements in a sentence, there are Subordinate Elements. These are the Attribute Complement, the Object Complement, the Adjective Modifier, and the Adverbial Modifier.
Some verbs, to complete their sense, need to be followed by some other word or group of words. These words which "complement," or complete the meanings of verbs are called Complements.
The Attribute Complement completes the meaning of the verb by stating some class, condition, or attribute of the subject; as, My friend is a student, I am well, The man is good Student, well, and good complete the meanings of their respective verbs, by stating some class, condition, or attribute of the subjects of the verbs.
The attribute complement usually follows the verb be or its forms, is, are, was, will be, etc. The attribute complement is usually a noun, pronoun, or adjective, although it may be a phrase or clause fulfilling the function of any of these parts of speech. It must not be confused with an adverb or an adverbial modifier. In the sentence, He is there, there is an adverb, not an attribute complement.
The verb used with an attribute complement, because such verb joins the subject to its attribute, is called the Copula ("to couple") or Copulative Verb.
Some verbs require an object to complete their meaning. This object is called the Object Complement. In the sentence, I carry a book, the object, book, is required to complete the meaning of the transitive verb carry; so, also in the sentences, I hold the horse, and I touch a desk, the objects horse and desk are necessary to complete the meanings of their respective verbs. These verbs that require objects to complete their meaning are called Transitive Verbs.
Adjective and Adverbial Modifiers may consist simply of adjectives and adverbs, or of phrases and clauses used as adjectives or adverbs.