What is a sentence in English grammar? | Definition, Types and Examples

What is a sentence in English grammar?


Maybe you have a query regarding what is a sentence in English grammar right? Well, the sentence is a basic part of any language whether it is English or anything else. We humans interact with each other by producing sentences. A sentence is formed through the combination of several words or parts of speech such as noun, pronoun, preposition, adjective, verbetc. 

A sentence must have a minimum one subject (noun, pronoun) and one verb. Now the question is what is a sentence in English? Let us analyze what is the definition of a sentence in English grammar elaborately? First of all, let's see what scholars think about the sentence in English grammar?

Definition of a sentence by scholars

J.C. Nesfield: A combination of words that makes a complete sense is called a sentence.
Wren and Martin: A group of words which makes a complete sense is called a sentence. 
Now we can say a group of words which contains a subject (what or whom the sentence is about) and a predicate (what is said about the subject) and acknowledges the proper meaning and understanding is called a sentence in English grammar. For Example:
  • He is a good boy.
  • Are they playing football?
  • Please do something for me.
  • May you live long.
  • Wow! We won the match today.
Note: A sentence can be longer than a single subject and a single predicate.

Types of sentences in English


English sentences are of five kinds. They are:
What is a sentence in English
1. Assertive sentence
2. Interrogative sentence
3. Imperative sentence
4. Optative sentence
5. Exclamatory sentence

1. Assertive sentence 

A sentence that depicts a fact or statement is called an Assertive sentence. Usually, these type of sentences always state the fact or declare something. For example:
  • Zinat is a good girl.
  • He is going to school.
  • I have a dog.
  • They are going to watch a cricket match.
  • My father bought a shirt for myself.
Note: All the sentences explain the facts. So a sentence that describes the statement of someone or something is called an Assertive sentence.
Pattern: Subject+verb+object+extension


2. Interrogative sentence

A sentence that demands a question is called an Interrogative sentence. Interrogative sentences always ask for questions for any reason. For example:
  • Are you have your breakfast?
  • Does he meet with his friends?
  • Don't they walk in the morning?
  • Has she gone a parlour?
  • Did your father a government employee?
Note: Every Interrogative sentence opens with an auxiliary verb and end with an interrogative mark"?"
Pattern: Interrogative sentence can be formed into three ways:
 1.  If a sentence contains with "be" verb (am, is, are, was, were), "have" verb (have, has, had) and modal verb (shall, should, will, would, can, could, may, might, etc.)  then the verb will place before the subject.

2. If a sentence contains no helping verb (mentioned above) then do, does and did will place before the subject.
  • Do will be placed for present indefinite tense (the subject should be a first and second person)
  • Does will also be placed for present indefinite tense (the subject should be third person singular number)
  • Did will be placed for past indefinite tense (the subject can be any person)
3. If a sentence contains with who, which, whom, whose, what, why, when, where, how much, how many, etc. then those pronouns will place before the subject.

3. Imperative sentence 

A sentence that describes a command, request or asks to do something is called an Imperative sentence. For example:
  • Open the window.
  • Make good food
  • Read the book.
  • Let us do the work
  • Let not agree with him
Note: Usually Imperative sentence opens with a "verb" or "let" and the subject remains implicit.
Pattern: Verb+object+extension


4. Optative sentence 

A sentence that expresses any wish or player is called an Optative sentence. For Example:
  • May Almighty bless you.
  • May he long live.
  • May the boy pass the examination.
  • May my mother come round soon.
  • May teacher accept my request.
Note: Optative sentence opens with "may" in some cases "may" can be implicit. For example: Long live the man.
Pattern: May+Assertive=Optative sentence.  

5. Exclamatory sentence

A sentence that expresses feeling or emotion is called an exclamatory sentence. An exclamatory sentence always takes the exclamatory symbol (!)
  • Alas! My grandfather is no more in the world.
  • Hurrah! I get a new job.
  • Wow! I have seen a sweet baby.
  • What a beautiful bird this is!
  • How old the man is!
Note: If an exclamatory sentence contains with 'how', or 'what' then the verb will place after the subject and sentence's ending.
Pattern: Hurrah! alas! ah! wow! etc.+ Assertive=  Exclamatory sentence.
Caution:  Every sentence can be divided into two parts:
  • Affirmative
  • Negative
1. Affirmative: A sentence that agrees with something or someone is called an affirmative sentence.
2. Negative: A sentence that disagrees with something or someone is called a negative sentence.

Rules of Negative forms

We can make a sentence negative in three ways:
(1) If a sentence forms with 'be' verb (am, is, are, was, were), 'have' verb (have, has, had) and 'modal' verb (can, could, shall, should, will, would, may, might) then 'not' will place after those verbs. For example:
  • He is not an intelligent boy.
  • My friend could not attend the place.
  • They were not performed well.
  • She was not singing songs at a concert.
  • I have not travelled by train yet.
  • Mr Jonshon had not got the right direction.
  • You must not believe anything blindly.
Note: 'Not' is placed after all the auxiliary verbs.
(2) If a sentence forms without helping verb (mentioned above) then 'do' verb (do, does, did) will place according to tense and number and the main verb remains unchangeable. 'Not' will place in the middle of both 'do' verb and 'main' verb. For example:
  • I do not agree with the matter.
  • He does not play hockey.
  • She did not attentive to her study.
Note: 'Do' verb is placed according to the tense and number.
(3) We can transform a sentence from affirmative to negative by using 'no' before a noun and 'not' before an adjective. For example:
  • No man can live alone.
  • He has no money. 
  • The boy has not a good attitude.
  • She is not tolerable.
In fine, you have found the answer to 'what is a sentence in English and definition, types, examples, and the patterns of English sentences as well. Try to follow all the details about Sentences in English grammar carefully.

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