Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

THE SENTENCE: HOME

The guide provides an overview of the parts of a sentence and common errors: fragment, run-on sentence, and comma splice.

INTRODUCTION

A sentence is a group of words that express a complete idea. All sentences must contain a subject (the who or the what in the sentence) and a predicate (the action or state of being in the sentence, the verb).

In this guide, you’ll learn about sentence basics, the types of sentences, the mechanics of a sentence, and common mistakes students make when writing sentences. 

MECHANICS OF A SENTENCE

All sentences start with a capital letter.

Example:

  • this is not a complete sentence.

Sentences can end with various punctuation marks: period (.), question mark (?), or exclamation point (!).

Examples:

  • A sentence ends with a period.
  • Do sentences end with a question mark?
  • Sentences can end with a question mark!

Sentences can also end in a semi-colon (;). Typically writers use semi-colons to show relationship between two sentences. A semi-colon is like a ‘soft stop’ for a reader, where a period, question mark, or exclamation points are a ‘hard stop,’ which signals to the reader that there’s less of a relationship between the two sentences.

Example:

  • Some sentences end with a period; some sentences which are trying to be more forceful end with an exclamation point. 

Two sentences can be combined using a conjunction (and, but, or) and a comma to form a compound sentence.

Example:

  • Some sentences end with a period, and some sentences which are trying to be more forceful end with an exclamation point.

SENTENCE BASICS

 

All sentences must have a subject + predicate (a verb). 

 


Groups of words can either be a phrase or a clause. A phrase is a group of words that is missing either a subject or a verb, and a clause is a group of words that contains both a subject and a verb.

There are two types of clauses: independent clauses and dependent clauses. An independent clause (otherwise known as a sentence) can stand on its own because it has a subject and a predicate that make a complete idea or thought, and a dependent clause needs to be connected to an independent clause to help the group of words make a complete thought or idea. 


Phrase vs. Clause

 


Independent vs. Dependent Clauses

 


Identifying phrases or clauses

 

TYPES OF SENTENCES

There are four types of sentences: simple, compound, complex, and complex-compound. 

 

COMMON MISTAKES: RUN-ON, COMMA SPLICE, AND FRAGMEN

Many students make one of these common mistakes when writing sentences.

Run-on Sentence (sometimes called a fused sentence) and Comma Splices

A run-on sentence has two or more sentences jammed into a single sentence without the proper punctuation.

A comma splice sentence is a type of run-on sentence. It’s simply two sentences connected together with only a comma. A comma cannot connect two complete sentences together without a conjunction. 


Fragment

A fragment is a group of words that’s missing either a subject or predicate. 

 

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

RATE THIS GUIDE