Chapter 1
The Sentence

Definition

A sentence is a group of words that gives full meaning and makes complete sense.
Examples

  1. The dog bit the boy.
  2. Geetha is reading a storybook.

Explanation
Read the following groups of words.

  1. Bit the boy the dog.
  2. Storybook reads Geetha.
    These do not make sense.
  1. The legs of a table.
  2. The wings of an eagle.
    These are also groups of words. They give some meaning but not full meaning.

Let us read these again.

  1. The dog bit the boy.
  2. Geetha is reading a storybook.

The above two lines contain groups of words arranged in an orderly manner giving full meaning and making complete sense. Each group is called a sentence.

Parts of a sentence

A sentence has two parts. They are the subject and the predicate. The part of the sentence which names the person or thing we speak about is called the subject and the part that says something about the subject are called the predicate.

Examples and explanation
Consider the following sentences.

  1. Gopal scored a century.
  2. Ahalya does not like sweets.
  3. Prabhu plays cricket.
  4. The house is built of stone.
  5. He stood on the bench.

In each of these sentences we say something of a person or thing. Thus, for example, we speak of Gopal in the first sentence; of Ahalya in the second; of Prabhu in the third and so on. What we speak about is called the subject. So Gopal is the subject of the first sentence.
We say of Gopal that he scored a century; of Ahalya that she does not like sweets and so on. What is told of the subject is the predicate.
The subject of a sentence usually comes first, but occasionally it is put after the predicate. The following two sentences are examples that have the subject after the predicate.

  1. Here comes the bus.
  2. Sweet is the uses of adversity.

In some sentences the subject is left out. Such sentences are called imperative sentences. You will read about these under ‘kinds of sentences’. The following two sentences are examples of imperative sentences.

  1. Sit down. (Here the subject you is understood.)
  2. Thank him. (Here too the subject you is understood.)

A sentence can also be broken down into the phrase and the clause.

The Phrase

Definition

A Phrase is a group of words that makes sense but not complete sense.

Examples

  1. The sun rises in the east.
  2. He sat on the carpet.
  3. There came a stranger to my door.
  4. It was a sunset of great beauty.
  5. The tops of the mountains were covered with snow.
  6. Show me how to do it.

Explanation

In the above sentences, the groups of words in italics are Phrases as they make sense but not complete sense.

The Clause

Definition

A Clause is a group of words having a Subject and a Predicate and forming a part of a sentence.

Examples

In the following sentences, the groups of words in italics are clauses.

  1. People who pay their debts are trusted.
  2. We cannot start while it is raining.
  3. I think that you have made a mistake.

Explanation

Consider the following two sentences.

  1. He has a chain of gold.
  2. He has a chain that is made of gold.

In the first sentence, the group of words in italics is a phrase. In the second sentence the group of words in italics contain a Subject (that) and a Predicate (is made of gold). The group of words in italics in the second sentence is a clause.
A sentence may have more than one Clause. If the clauses are of equal rank, each by themselves giving full meaning, they are called Co-ordinate Clauses. If a Clause can give full meaning independent of other Clauses in the sentence, it is known as an Independent Clause or Main Clause or Principal Clause. This necessarily means the other clauses can not give a full meaning by themselves and they depend on the Principal Clause for their meaning. Clauses that depend on the Principal Clause for their meaning are called Dependent Clause or Subordinate Clause.

Analysis of sentences

Based on the number of clauses in a sentence it can be analyzed as belonging into to one of the three following types.

  1. Simple
  2. Compound
  3. Complex

Definitions

A simple sentence is one that has only one subject and one predicate. (See also under Finite Verb)

A compound sentence has two or more co-ordinate clauses.

A complex sentence is one that has one Principal Clause and one or more Subordinate Clauses.

Examples

  1. We walked in the dark.
  2. They sold the horse and we bought it.
  3. As it was raining we did not go out.

Explanation

The first sentence has a subject and a predicate that is, it has a single clause. So it is called a simple sentence.
The second sentence can be split up into two sentences – they sold the horse. We bought it. These are joined by ‘and’, and formed into one sentence. Each of the two parts (They sold the horse, we bought it) has a subject and a predicate. Each being a part of one whole sentence, the part is called a Clause as explained under the definition for Clause. The sentence is called a compound sentence.
The third sentence has two clauses – As it was raining and we did not go out. The clause we did not go out can give full meaning independent of the other clause. Therefore it is called an independent Clause or main Clause or Principal Clause. The other clause, As it was raining, cannot give meaning by itself. It has to depend upon the Principal Clause for its meaning. It is therefore called a dependent clause or a subordinate clause. The sentence is called complex sentence.

Note:

  1. To analysea sentence is to break it up into several parts, if the sentence is complex or compound we break it up into different clauses.
  2. Sometimes a distinction is made between a double sentence and a multiple sentence. A double sentence has two co-ordinating clauses while a multiple sentence has more than two co-ordinate clauses. A double sentence and a multiple sentence are both compound sentences.

Kinds of sentences

There are four kinds of sentences. They are as follows:

  1. Declarative or Assertive sentence.
  2. Imperative sentence.
  3. Interrogative sentence.
  4. Exclamatory sentence.

Assertive sentence

Definition

A sentence that makes a statement or assertion is called a declarative or an assertive sentence.

Examples

  1. The boy flew a kite.
  2. Akbar did not hate the Rajputs.

Explanation

These sentences make statements. The first sentence is affirmative (meaning ‘yes’) and the second sentence is negative (meaning ‘no’).They are called assertive sentences because they assert something.

Note:
We will read about affirmative and negative sentences under ‘Transformation of sentences’.

Imperative sentence

Definition

A sentence that expresses a command, request or an entreaty or wish is called an imperative sentence.

Examples

  1. Do as you are told.
  2. Lend me your purse.
  3. May God bless him.

Explanation

In the above sentences- the first one is command, the second is a request and the third is a wish. We call these sentences imperative sentences.

Interrogative sentence

Definition

A sentence that asks a question is called an interrogative sentence. (Interrogate –‘question’)

Examples

  1. What do you want?
  2. Whom do you want to see?
  3. Which of them is better?

Explanation

The above sentences ask questions. They are called interrogative sentences.

Exclamatory sentence

Definition

A sentence that expresses a strong or a sudden feeling is called an exclamatory sentence

Examples

  1. What a wonder!
  2. How good are you!

Explanation

The above sentences expresses a sudden feeling. They are exclamatory sentences.

Transformation of sentences

Sentences can be changed from Affirmative to Negative, Negative to Affirmative, Interrogative to Assertive, Assertive to Interrogative, Exclamatory to Assertive and Assertive to Exclamatory without changing the meaning of the sentence

Examples

  1. Only the brave deserves the fair. (Affirmative)
    None but the brave deserves the fair. (Negative)
  2. There is no smoke without fire. (Negative)
    Where there is smoke there is fire. (Affirmative)
  3. Who does not know Gandhi? (Interrogative)
    Everyone knows Gandhi. (Assertive)
  1. There is no use arguing with a fool. (Assertive)
    Is it of any use to argue with a fool? (Interrogative)
  2. What a grand scene! (Exclamatory)
    It is a very grand scene. (Assertive)
  3. It is very colourful. (Assertive)
    How colourful it is! (Exclamatory)