a sentence is a grammatical unit of one or more
words, bearing minimal syntactic relation to the words
that precede or follow it, often preceded and followed
in speech by pauses, having one of a small number of characteristic
intonation patterns, and typically expressing an independent
statement, question, request, command, etc.
Sentences are generally characterized in most languages
by the presence of a finite
verb, e.g. "The
quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog".
Components of a sentence
A simple complete sentence consists of a subject
and a predicate.
The subject is typically a noun
phrase, though other kinds of phrases (such as gerund
phrases) work as well, and some languages allow subjects
to be omitted. The predicate is a finite verb
phrase: it's a finite verb together with zero or more
zero or more complements,
and zero or more adverbials.
See also copula
for the consequences of this verb on the theory of sentence
consists of a subject and a verb. There are two types
of clauses: independent and subordinate (dependent). An
independent clause consists of a subject verb and also
demonstrates a complete thought: for example, "I am sad."
A subordinate clause consists of a subject and a verb,
but demonstrates an incomplete thought: for example, "Because
I had to really move."
One traditional scheme for classifying English
sentences is by the number and types of finite
Sentences can also be classified based on their purpose:
- A declarative sentence or declaration,
the most common type, commonly makes a statement: I
am going home.
- A negative sentence or negation
denies that a statement is true: I am not going home.
- An interrogative sentence or question
is commonly used to request information — When are
you going to work? — but sometimes not; see
- An exclamatory sentence or exclamation
is generally a more emphatic form of statement: What
a wonderful day this is!
- An imperative sentence or command tells
someone to do something: Go to work at 7:30 tomorrow
Major and minor sentences
A major sentence is a regular sentence; it has
and a predicate.
For example: I have a ball. In this sentence one
can change the persons: We have a ball. However,
a minor sentence is an irregular type of sentence. It
does not contain a finite verb. For example, "Mary!" "Yes."
"Coffee." etc. Other examples of minor sentences are headings
(e.g. the heading of this entry), stereotyped expressions
(Hello!), emotional expressions (Wow!),
proverbs, etc. This can also include sentences which do
not contain verbs (e.g. The more, the merrier.)
in order to intensify the meaning around the nouns (normally
found in poetry and catchphrases).
- Definitions from Dictionary.com". Dictionary.com.
Retrieved on 2008-05-23.