sentence

sentence
1. Many users of this book will have been taught that a sentence is a group of words that makes complete sense, contains a main verb, and when written begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop (or a question mark if it is a question or an exclamation mark if it is an exclamation). This is a good working definition, and rather than pick holes in it we might more profitably add certain riders to it:
2. A sentence can contain ellipsis, i.e. a verb and other words can be understood or suppressed:

• It had been a good party. An unforgettable party, actually. And still was —A. Huth, 1992.

(Ellipsis of it had been in the second sentence and it in the third.) Grammarians may argue about whether these are all true sentences, but for practical purposes it is sensible to regard them all as qualifying for the term, if only to make straightforward discussion about language structure possible.
3. There are three basic kinds of sentence. A simple sentence normally contains one statement: It had been a good party. A compound sentence contains more than one statement, normally joined by a conjunction such as and or but: It had been a good party and we had all enjoyed it / It had been a good party but I had known better. A complex sentence contains a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses, such as a relative clause introduced by which or who: It had been a good party, which we all enjoyed very much.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sentence — sen·tence 1 / sent əns, ənz/ n [Old French, opinion, judicial sentence, from Latin sententia, ultimately from sentire to feel, think, express an opinion] 1: a judgment formally pronouncing the punishment to be inflicted on one convicted of a… …   Law dictionary

  • sentence — [ sɑ̃tɑ̃s ] n. f. • 1190; lat. sententia, de sentire « juger » 1 ♦ Décision rendue par un juge ou un arbitre. Prononcer, rendre, exécuter une sentence. ⇒ arrêt, décret, jugement, verdict. « sous le coup d un arrêt de mort, entre la sentence et l… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • sentence — de juge, Iudicium. Une sentence et jugement de laquelle le peuple a esté mal content, Iudicium inuidiosum. Bailler sentence, Pronuntiare. Donner quelque sentence ou appoinctement contre aucun, Decernere aliquid contra rem alicuius. On a donné… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • sentence — Sentence. s. f. Dit memorable, Apophtegme, maxime qui renferme un grand sens, une belle moralité. Les Proverbes de Salomon sont autant de Sentences admirables. un discours plein de Sentences. le Style de Seneque est rempli de Sentences. une des… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Sentence — Sen tence, n. [F., from L. sententia, for sentientia, from sentire to discern by the senses and the mind, to feel, to think. See {Sense}, n., and cf. {Sentiensi}.] 1. Sense; meaning; significance. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Tales of best sentence and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sentence — • In canon law, the decision of the court upon any issue brought before it Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Sentence     Sentence      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Sentence — or sentencing may refer to:* Sentence (linguistics), a grammatical unit of language * Sentence (mathematical logic), a formula with no free variables * Sentence (music), the smallest period in a musical composition * Sentence (law), the final act …   Wikipedia

  • sentence — vb Sentence, condemn, damn, doom, proscribe can all mean to decree the fate or punishment of a person or sometimes a thing that has been adjudged guilty, unworthy, or unfit. Sentence is used in reference to the determination and pronouncement of… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • sentence — [sent′ ns] n. [OFr < L sententia, way of thinking, opinion, sentiment, prob. for sentientia < sentiens, prp. of sentire, to feel, SENSE] 1. a) a decision or judgment, as of a court; esp., the determination by a court of the punishment of a… …   English World dictionary

  • Sentence — Sen tence, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Sentenced}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Sentencing}.] 1. To pass or pronounce judgment upon; to doom; to condemn to punishment; to prescribe the punishment of. [1913 Webster] Nature herself is sentenced in your doom. Dryden.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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