Definition of Sentence

A sentence is an ordered string of words that is complete in itself containing a subject in agreement with a verb and conveying a complete sense.

Let us take a look at the following group of words:
Misha is my friend.
I am late for class.
The birds are singing.
in the morning
near the bus stop
With my sister
Is there any difference between group A and group B?
Does group A make sense to you?
What about group B?
You will agree with me when I say that the words in group A make complete sense. Hence we may call them SENTENCES.

Group B, on the other hand, does not make complete sense. They should be supported by other words to be completed. We can call such incomplete expressions as Phrases.

Self Check Exercises 1
Look at the following group of words and say whether they are sentences or phrases.
Ramu is singing.
On the roof.
Radha jumped on the wall.
In the last section.

Sentence structure


Now let us listen to this conversation between Geetha and her mother.
Geetha: Mother, I am back from class
Mother: Geetha, You are late, aren’t you? Why are you late?
Geetha: I stopped to see Mrs. Patel. She is going to the USA next week.
Mother: How wonderful! When will she return? Geetha: After a month.
Mother: OK. Now come and drink your tea. Please shut the door when you Come.
Geetha: Oh Mother! I am not hungry

Let us pick these sentences and put them into four groups.

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I am back from
I stopped to see Mrs. Patel
She is going to the USA next week.
I am hot hungry.

Why are you late?
When will she return?
You are late, aren’t you?

Drink your tea.
Please shut the door when you come.

How Wonderful!

What is the function of the sentences in Group 1?
They make a statement and we can see that they follow the pattern subject(s) + Verb (v). Such sentences are called DECLARATIVE SENTENCES.
We can see two types of declarative sentences,
I am back from school (Affirmative)
I am not hungry (Negative)
Let us look at some more examples. Affirmative and Negative
1. John is running. John is not running.
2. They are happy They are not happy.
3. Meera is coming tomorrow. Meera is not coming tomorrow.
4. It is very cold. It is not very cold.

The sentences in Group 2 ask questions. They are called INTERROGATIVE SENTENCES

Here the word order’ is question word + verb (V) + subject or we can say that they are the inverted form of statements. The questions listed above begin with ’Why’ and ’When’ Such questions are called WH- Questions. The other ’wh’ words which are used for asking questions are What, Who, Which, Where, etc. (how, how far, how much, how often, etc. also come under this category) Some more examples:

Which is your favourite colour?
What did the man do?
Where is my cat?
Look at this question:
Is the doctor in?
What will be the answer?
Yes, he is \No, he isn’t.
Such questions are called YES\NO Questions.
They begin with a verb or an auxiliary (is, are, do, etc.)
Are you happy?
No, I am not / Yes, I am
Did you go there?
No, I didn’t / Yes, 1 did
The third type of question is listed here.
You are late, aren’t you?
This is called a QUESTION TAG.
We shall discuss question tags in detail later.

The sentences in Group 3 express strong feelings like surprise, pleasure, anger, pain, happiness, etc. They are called EXCLAMATORY statements.
What nonsense!
What a beautiful night!
How cold it is!

Sentences in Group 4 give instructions. Such statements that give advice, request, command or suggestions are called IMPERATIVES
Some examples:
Shut Up.
Never Cheat anyone.
Pass the salt.
Self Check Exercise 11
List the following sentences as declarative, interrogative, imperative and exclamatory.


ARTICLES: a, an, the
DEMONSTRATIVE: this, that, these, those
POSSESSIVES: my, our, your, his, her, their
QUANTIFIERS: many, some, three, ten
ADJECTIVES: busy, talk, beautiful

Sentence| Definition, Types Structure, Elements and Parts


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