Sentences: “Make it simple but authentic.”
Writing a simple sentence to convey an idea can be difficult. But, with a thorough understanding of English grammar, one can write crisp & concise statements. At first, let us see what the content holds in further sections
- Definition of a Sentence
- Parts of speech
- Sentence construction
- Independent clauses
- Dependent clauses
Watch the following video to quickly go through Basic English Grammar For Beginners
What is a sentence?
Any set of words that contains a subject and a verb is referred to as a sentence. As long as a set of words are making sense and are complete in itself, it is said to be a sentence. It typically contains a subject and a predicate that aims to convey a statement, question, command, exclamation, request, etc.
Examples of a sentence:
- Dogs Run. (This is a simple sentence, where DOG is a NOUN, and RUN is a VERB)
- Dogs Run around whenever they are let off of their leashes. (This is a complex sentence. Here, some extra information and detail are added in the sentence).
Parts of Speech
Simply put, Parts of Speech is the way a word is used in a sentence. It is like the ingredient of a sentence. For instance, read the following sentences:
- I am eating vanilla ice cream.
- She is a hard-working student.
The above sentence is made up of four parts of speech viz. Noun, Verb, Adjective, and an Object.
This statement is again made up of four parts of speech, viz. Pronoun, Verb, Adjective, and an Object.
As you can see, both the sentences have a Subject (Noun/Pronoun), a Verb, and an Object.
Subject + Verb + Object (SVO) is the basic requirement of any sentence.
Fun Fact: In ergative languages, SVO is referred to as AVO (Agent – Verb – Object)
Following are the parts of speech in English grammar:
Noun: A noun indicates people, places, things, ideas, and emotions.
There are six types of nouns: common noun, proper noun, concrete noun, abstract noun, collective nouns, and count & mass nouns.
Example of every type of noun:
- Common noun– Noun that refers to things or people such as country, city, day, etc.
- Proper noun– Noun that refers to a particular place, person, or thing such as Wednesday, M.S. Dhoni, The HIndu, etc.
- Concrete noun– Noun that refers to tangible people or things such as dogs, coffee, etc.
- Abstract noun– Noun that refers to qualities, conditions, and ideas such as happiness, time, humor, etc.
- Collective nouns– Noun that refers to a group of things or people such as government, team, etc.
- Countable & Uncountable nouns– Nouns that can be counted are Countable nouns whereas nouns that cannot be counted are termed as uncountable nouns. Example: Table, Cash, etc.- Countable nouns & Sugar, Salt, etc. – Uncountable nouns.
Fun Fact: Nouns can be used as- Subjects, Objects, Objects of prepositions, and Modifiers.
Verbs: These words are used to describe action in a sentence. There are mainly two types of verbs- Action verbs and Linking verbs.
- Action verbs: These indicate ‘what is happening’ or ‘ what is being done.’ For instance, “George eats Candy.”
- Linking verbs: These are more like equal signs. Example: “George seems nice.” (George = Nice).
‘Be’ verbs act as linking verbs and it aims to level out the sentence like an equal sign. Following are eight ‘be’ verbs: be, being, been, was, were, is, am, are.
Fun Fact: There are hundreds of different action verbs.
Pronouns: Words that are used in place of nouns are known as Pronouns. They refer to an already mentioned noun. Also, pronouns are used in place of nouns that do not require to be specifically named.
Pronouns are used to avoid awkward repetitions of the same noun. Let’s see what happens when pronouns are added in a sentence.
- I like my car when my car has just been washed because my car’s bright red paint shines in the sun.
- I like my car when it has just been washed because its bright red paint shines in the sun.
* Use of the word “it” stands in for “car” to make the sentence less tiresome.
There are seven types of pronouns viz. Personal pronouns, Interrogative pronouns, Possessive pronouns, Demonstrative pronouns, Relative pronouns, Reflexive pronouns, and Indefinite pronouns.
- Personal pronouns: I, me, my, you, he, she, it, him, her, we, our, etc.
- Interrogative pronouns: What, Which, Who, etc.
- Possessive pronouns: mine, yours, ours, etc.
- Demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these, those, etc.
- Relative pronouns: who, whom, whose, which, that, etc.
- Reflexive pronouns: myself, ourselves, itself, etc.
- Indefinite pronouns: another, anybody, everyone, nobody, both, many, etc.
Fun Fact: Personal pronouns take different forms as subject and object.
Adjective: These are the words that describe or modify ‘nouns’ and ‘pronouns’. If someone says a car has been modified, you know it has been enhanced or dressed up.
In relation to nouns, adjectives usually describe ‘which one’, ‘how many’, or ‘what kind.’
Following Order of Adjectives is the reason why sentences are written in a particular order.
Fun Fact: Adjectives may be expressed in degrees of modification (for e.g., rich, richer, richest).
Adverbs: Adverbs are kind of like adjectives in that they modify or describe another word, but they modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Adverbs answer the following questions:
- How? He ate slowly.
- When? We will eat soon.
- Where? I want to eat here.
- How often? Let’s eat frequently.
- To what extent? We will eat enough.
There are five types of Adverbs.
- Adverbs of Manner: slowly, quietly, etc.
- Adverbs of Place: on the airplane, there, etc.
- Adverbs of Frequency: everyday, alternate days, often, etc.
- Adverbs of Time: before noon, now, early, etc.
- Adverbs of Purpose: to avoid fatigue, to become the best, etc.
Following Order of Adverbs is the reason why sentences are written in a particular order.
Fun Fact: Viewpoint adverb is associated with an adjective and comes only after a noun
Prepositions: They describe the ‘position’ or ‘relationship’ between words and ideas in a sentence. Prepositions are always followed by nouns. This combination is called a prepositional phrase.
Following is the list of common prepositions. Notice how most of these prepositions indicate position in time or space.
Conjunctions: Conjunctions join (or conjoin) words or parts of a sentence. Two important types of conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.
The coordinating conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
Note: The word ‘for’ can act as both a preposition and a coordinating conjunction. It is a conjunction when it means ‘because’ or ‘since’ and a preposition all other times. The use ‘for’ as a conjunction is somewhat archaic.
Conjunction: She left her coat, for it was very hot outside.
Preposition: I waited in the lobby for two hours.
Following are some of the most commonly used subordinate conjunctions:
Fun Fact: When a sentence begins with a subordinating conjunction, a comma is used where the first clause ends. E.g. Because I just ate a huge meal, I cannot go swimming.
Interjections: Interjections express surprise, concern, or other strong emotions. They stand alone or usually come at the beginning of sentences. Interjections should not be used much, if at all, in formal writing.
Some of the common interjections are hey, wow, ouch, well, great, oh, yeah, whoa.
Example: Wow! This is a beautiful house.
Great! I guess that’s the way it works.
“Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.”
– Winston Churchill.
Let’s understand how to build an effective sentence.
- Dogs eat.
- Dogs eat hamburgers.
- The skinny dogs eat hamburgers.
- The skinny dogs eat hamburgers slowly.
- The skinny dogs eat hamburgers slowly at the table.
The skinny dogs eat hamburgers slowly at the table. Their owners don’t seem to mind.
Above-mentioned sentences can stand alone as complete thoughts. A group of words that contain a subject and a verb and express a complete thought is called an independent clause.
A coordinating conjunction would put the two sentences in a kind of equal relationship.
The skinny dogs eat hamburgers slowly at the table, and their owners don’t seem to mind.
Adding a subordinating conjunction would make the second sentence dependent on the first.
The skinny dogs eat hamburgers slowly at the table because their owners don’t seem to mind.
Group of words that contain subject and verbs to make complete thought. It can be constructed as independent sentences.
Dependent clauses (Subordinate Clause)
Group of words that may contain subject and verb, but don’t make complete thought. It can’t be constructed as independent sentences.
A phrase is a group of related words that lack a subject, a verb, or both. Phrases can never stand alone as complete sentences.
There are four types of sentence structure.
- Simple sentence: These sentences have only one independent clause.
- Complex sentence: These sentences have one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.
- Compound sentence: These sentences have two independent clauses.
- Compound-complex sentence: These sentences have two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.