CIP School in the Phils.


on July 11, 2012

Grammar : What Is A Sentence?

  What Is A Sentence? In simple terms, a sentence is a set of words that contain:

  1. a subject (what the sentence is about, the topic of the sentence)
  2. a predicate (what is said about the subject)

Look at this simple example:

<—– sentence —–>



You speak English.

The above example sentence is very short. Of course, a sentence can be longer and more complicated, but basically there is always a subject and a predicate. Look at this longer example:

<—– sentence —–>



Ram and Tara speak English when they are working.

Note that the predicate always contains a verb. Sometimes, in fact, the predicate is only a verb:

<—– sentence —–>



Smoke rises.  

So we can say that a sentence must contain at least a subject and verb.

There is one apparent exception to this – the imperative. When someone gives a command (the imperative), they usually do not use a subject. They don’t say the subject because it is obvious – the subject is YOU! Look at these examples of the imperative, with and without a subject:

<—– sentence —–>



  Wait a minute!
You look!  
Everybody look!  

Note that a sentence expresses a complete thought. Here are some examples of complete and incomplete thoughts:

  complete thought?
He opened the door. YES
Come in, please.
Do you like coffee?
people who work hard NO
a fast-moving animal with big ears

Note also that a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop* or a question mark or an exclamation mark. Look at these examples:

People need food.
How are you?
Look out!


Actually, it is not easy to define a sentence. Grammarians do not all agree on what is or is not a sentence. For the purposes of introduction, this page describes rather simple sentences. Of course, sentences can be much longer and more complex, and these will be covered on other pages

AdjectivesAn adjective is a word that tells us more about a noun. (By “noun” we include pronouns and noun phrases.)

An adjective “qualifies” or “modifies” a noun (a big dog).

Adjectives can be used before a noun (I like Chinese food) or after certain verbs (It is hard).

We can often use two or more adjectives together (a beautiful young French lady).

It is sometimes said that the adjective is the enemy of the noun. This is because, very often, if we use the precise noun we don’t need an adjective. For example, instead of saying “a large, impressive house” (2 adjectives + 1 noun) we could simply say “a mansion” (1 noun).

the, a/an, this, some, any

Adjective Order ()
beautiful, long, dark brown

Comparative Adjectives
richer, more exciting

Superlative Adjectives
the richest, the most exciting

 Noun as Adjective
coffee cup, bus station, research centre



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