Saturday, June 10, 2017

What you Need to Know About Sentences


How to Write a Sentence

All sentences contain one subject and one verb expressing a complete thought. Always starting with a capital letter and ending with punctuation which is either full-stop(.), a question mark (?), or an exclamation mark (!).
  • He walks. 
  • She likes pears. 
  • Where are you going? 
  • Ruth studies French. 
Often sentences have hidden subjects which is understood to be you. These are orders or commands telling the audience to do something i.e. (you) + do something.

  • Open the door. 
  • Close the door. 
  • Be quiet! 
  • Please try harder. 
There are complete sentences that do not follow the grammatical patterns or structures, but are considered complete sentences. These are understood when spoken or written. See examples below.
  • Goodbye! 
  • Pardon! 
  • How do you do. 
  • How cruel it is. 
Four Types of Sentences

Sentences can be classified into four types: exclamatory, imperative, interrogative and declarative sentences.

Exclamatory Sentences

An exclamatory sentence shows a strong feeling or statement like surprise, anger or a greeting.

  • That's great! 
  • How interesting! 
  • What a beautiful day. 
Imperative Sentences

These sentences are orders or commands, telling the readers to do something. Putting You into the sentence.

  • Be smart and flexible 
  • Don't park your lorry over there. 
  • Finish your assignment. 

Declarative Sentences

These sentences can be either positive or negative, and also called statements. These sentences inform or tell their audience something. 

  • The plane has two engines. 
  • The phone needs charging. 
  • I'm not going to the party. 
Interrogative Sentences

Interrogative sentences ask for information feedback from the audience, listeners or readers. 

  • Are you a pilot? 
  • Where is your hotel? 
  • The video is interested isn't it? 
How Long Should a Sentence Be?

The length of your sentence should automatically be adapted to fit the subject you are describing.

Using a long description can add a sense of relaxation and slowing time down. Shorter sentences are quick and punchy, good for describing dramatic events and action.

Here are a few examples:

"The History lesson seemed, to Kevin to be dragging on forever, as Mrs Bane's voice dragged on and on, it its weary, low monotone, about the apparently fascinating life of Henry V, who seemed to Kevin, to be unhealthily and unnaturally interested in scenes of death and decay".

"The waves crashed. The moon shone brightly. All else was silent on the deserted beach. From the distance came the sound of thunder".

Sentence Rhythm

Using short sentences repeatedly will create choppy, staccato rhythm. Longer sentences have more fluidity, along with a fluent rhythm.

In Summary:

Long Sentences:

Slow, descriptive or explanatory.

Creating a sense of relaxation, flow, or time slowing.

Using a long sentence can create rhythm and a fluent style.

Short Sentences:

Great for action, or dramatic lines. For example, 'a shot rang out'.

Short sentences create quick punchy rhythm.

Sentence Structure


Once you start varying the length of your sentence you should also try varying their construction.

A simple technique is to put in the occasional adverb before the subject or verb.

For example:

"He walked carefully".

Change it to:

"Carefully he walked".

Remember to always create variety.

Removing 'he did this' or 'he did that' gets rid of all repetition and creates variation. Instead 'he saw a picture above the fireplace' becomes, 'above the fireplace hung a picture'.

Often sentences with subject kept to the end are often called 'suspenseful', because the reader has to see who or what the subject is. You can create effects by using these suspenseful sentences.

For example: "Donna ran through the long crowded corridors, where her school mates stopped to stare at her, out through the big double doors at the front of the school and down the main road that led to her home".

This sentence can become more effective by putting the subject (Donna) and her verb (ran) at the end:

"Through the long-crowded corridors, where her schoolmates stopped to stare at her, out through the big double doors at the front of the school, and down the main road that led to her home Donna ran".

The Five Elements of a Sentence

There are five elements to a sentence these help to form various types and structures of sentences which include adverbials, verbs, objects, complements and adverbials.

1. Subjects

These can either perform an action or tell what the sentences are about. They can be either nouns, pronouns, noun phrases, noun clauses or a group words functioning as a noun. These subjects can be identified as complete, simple or compound subjects.

Complete Subjects


A complete subject includes the noun (simple subject) and its modifiers. Its a noun clause or phrase.

  • A woman walking into a mall. 
  • A short man opening the door for her. 
  • What the woman is looking for is his interest. 

Simple Subjects
The single noun or pronoun is the Simple Subject which performs the action or tells what the sentence is about.

  • He studies hard. 
  • She is doing her assignment. 
  • A teacher is in the classroom. 

Compound Subject


A Compound subject includes two or more nouns joined together by conjunction "and". 

A pilot and his passengers are on the plane. 
Water and food are your basic needs. 
What we say and how we say it are important for communication.

2. Verbs

Expressed actions or states of being are all verbs. You have action verbs or state verbs. 

  • The police are catching a thief. (Action) 
  • She had robbed a man. (Action) 
  • He looked scared and frightened. (State) 
  • He felt sick for a few weeks. (State) 

3. Objects

Objects accept the action from either subjects or verbs. There are three different kinds of objects: objects of prepositions, direct objects and indirect objects. These objects can be pronouns, nouns, noun phrases, noun clauses, infinitive phrases, infinitives, gerunds or gerund phrases.

Indirect Objects

Indirect objects tells who the direct object is to or for, its the recipient of the action. 

  • Johnny lent me some cash last month. 
  • She sent her son a card. 
  • The officer allows the robber a phone call. 

Direct Objects

A Direct object receives the direct action from a verb.

  • We are in discussion about the planning permission. 
  • I understand what she said. 
  • The man unlocked his mobile phone successfully. 
Objects of Prepositions

The preposition and its object form the prepositional phrase which can be used as an adjective or adverb in a sentence. 

  • The lamp is on the table. 
  • He is the classroom. 
  • We decided not to vote for her. 

4. Complements

Subjects or objects are complete by a Complement. Complements which complete the meaning of a subject are subject complements and those which complete the meaning of an object or object complements.

Noun or adjectives can be Subject complements, completing the meaning of a subject. If the subject complement is a noun, its called the predicate nominee, when its an adjective its a predictive adjective. Subject complement goes after a linking verb.

  • They are sailors. 
  • He has a big nose. 
  • The dog looks happy. 

Object Complements

Objects complements can be either adjective or noun, they complete the meaning of an object.
 
  • The country appointed him President. 
  • The woman painted her house pink. 
  • She left the door open. 

5. Adverbials


Adverbs give more information about the verb.

  • Adverbs can be used to say how something happens or how something is done. 
  • The children were playing quietly. 
  • She was riding fast as possible. 
Adverbs can be used to say where something happens.
  • I saw her there. 
  • We met in Paris. 
Adverbs can be used to say how often something happens. 

  • They start work at four o'clock. 
  • They usually go to work by bike. 
Adverbs can be used to show how certain we about something.
Perhaps it might rain.
She is definitely coming to the party.

Learn how to write awesome sentences with It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences


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