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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. 

 

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