Sentence: Meaning, Examples And Classes Of Sentences

What Is A Sentence?

A sentence is seen as the highest grammatical unit used to express statement, question, exclamation or a command. A sentence is defined by some scholars as a grammatical arrangement of related words that expresses a sensible complete thought. Others see a sentence as a group of words which contains a subject and a predicate and which makes a complete meaning. Examples:

1. John is a big boy
2. He has gone mad

Incidentally, in a more modern understanding of a sentence, there are sentences that are neither a group of words or a combination of related words as the definition above portrayed. In other words, a sentence can have a one-word structure, as long as it remains meaningful, it will be accepted as a sentence. Examples: Come, Go, See, etc.

Every sentence has notable features with which it can be identified with as follows:

1. It starts with a capital letter.

2. It ends with a full-stop, an exclamation mark or a question mark.

3. It consists at least one clause (in this case, it will be called simple sentence).

4. It should have a structure, i.e. recognize, acceptable word order.

Classes/Types Of Sentence

A sentence is divided into four types and they are as follows:

1. Simple Sentence

A simple sentence can also be called a main clause or independent clause. It contains one finite verb. Apart from cases where sentences can have one word structure, a typical sentence contains a subject and a predicate. What therefore determines whether a sentence is simple or not is not the length but the number of clause or clauses contained in the sentence. See examples below:

1. He has gone to church.
2. She is yet to sleep.
3. The man is dead.
4. The old Nigerian musician called “the Borrower” killed himself yesterday quite early in the morning.

Note however, that sentence ‘4’ is much more longer in length than sentences 1 to 3, yet they are all simples sentences. The most important thing about sentence 4 is that it has one finite verb and one main clause.

2. Complex Sentence

A complex sentence has one main clause in addition to one subordinate clause. The subordinate clause in the sentence will need to lean on the main clause to realise its full meaning. At times, it can have more than one subordinate. Examples of complex sentences are:

1. As soon as the lecturer came in, the students locked the entire doors.

2. He stole my necklace because i am a quiet baby.

3. Obi left the hall when he could no longer bear the insult.

4. I saw the man clearly while he was running away.

3. Compound Sentence

A compound sentence comprises two main clauses joined by a co-ordinating conjunction like “and”, “but”, or “or”. A compound sentence has two subjects and two predicates. See examples below:

1. Take this or leave it.
2. John is a footballer and he is from my town.
3. Jane sings well and she dance well too.
4. He had a good grade in the examination but he doesn’t know anything.

4. Multiple Sentence

A multiple sentence contains three or more main (independent) clauses linked by a co-ordinating conjunctions. Examples:

1. Peter sings well, dance well and I am sure he will win in the competition.

2. Ekaette forcefully came into my house, opened my room, store my entire jewelries and I am sure she has sold all of them.

Functions Of A Sentence

This mode of classification of sentences is based on the functions or the uses wherever they appear. They are as follows: declarative sentence, imperative sentence, interrogative and exclamatory sentence.

1. Declarative: A declarative sentence makes a statement. It ends with a period/full stop. Example: The proposed site for the school is on a hill.

2. Interrogative: An interrogative sentence asks a question and ends with a question mark. Example: how do you intend getting there?

3. Exclamatory: An exclamatory sentence shows strong feeling and has an exclamation mark ending it. Example: The robber is getting away!

4. Imperative: An imperative sentence gives a command. Example: Tina, shut up.

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