Sentences

A sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete thought. A sentence must have a subject and a verb, but it may or may not have an object.

Kinds of Sentences

There are four kinds of sentences.

1. A declarative sentence makes a statement. A declarative sentence ends with a period.

  • It is raining.
  • Tom likes football.
  • The school bell was ringing.
  • The children are playing with the dog.
  • Topeka is in Kansas.

2. An interrogative sentence asks a question. An interrogative sentence ends with a question mark (?) instead of a period.

  • Where are my keys?
  • Why is the sky blue?
  • Who is talking to the teacher?
  • Is this the way to the ice skating rink?

3. An exclamatory sentence expresses strong emotion. It shows a strong feeling such as surprise or anger. An exclamatory sentence ends with an exclamation point (!) instead of a period.

  • What a kind thing to do!
  • How beautiful she is!
  • The silly boy!

4. An imperative sentence gives an order.

  • Ask Tom to come and see me.
  • Don’t tell me lies.
  • Please leave.
  • Go to your room!
  • Speak up!

Imperative

Use the base form of a verb to give commands or make direct requests. This use of the verb is called the imperative.

  • Stand, everyone!
  • Tidy your bedroom immediately!
  • Choose a partner!
  • Eat plenty of vegetables.
  • Find some nice round pebbles.
  • Come back soon!
  • Take a sandwich.
  • Come and look at this, Tom!

Imperatives are a very direct way of telling people to do something. Using do or please before an imperative is more polite.

  • Do sit down.
  • Do check these figures again.
  • Please help yourselves to some food.
  • Please don’t change anything on my computer.

Subject and Object

The subject of a sentence sometimes does something to someone or something else. The person or thing that receives the action is called the object. Verbs that have objects are called transitive verbs.

  • Dad is reading a book.
  • I am cooking dinner.
  • You have broken my new toy.
  • Mom likes her new car.
  • She has forgotten her backpack.
  • The dog licked my face.
  • Our ball hit a window.
  • They visited the museum.
  • Anna is sewing a dress for her doll.
  • Uncle Ben sent a package to his friend.

Verbs with Two Objects

Some verbs have two objects. The direct object receives the action of the verb. The indirect object tells to whom or for whom the action is done. The indirect object usually comes before the direct object. for example.

  • Sam gave Anna a present.

The thing that Sam gives is ‘a present’, so a present is the direct object of the verb. But there is another object: ‘Anna’. ‘Anna’ is the person that receives the present, so Anna is the indirect object of the verb.

  • Dad is reading the children a story.
  • Grandma is baking me a cake.
  • A kind man showed us the way.
  • We have brought you some new magazines to read.
  • Mr. Berg is teaching the children French.
  • Jack asked the teacher a question.
  • I am writing my friend a letter.
  • She sent her cousin an email.
  • John has found us a secret place to play.
  • Uncle Andy told them the good news.

Verbs with No Object

Some verbs don’t have an object. A verb that does not have an object is called an intransitive verb.

  • Mr. Park usually walks to work.
  • Anna talks a lot in class.
  • The sun is shining.
  • It is snowing.
  • I don’t know.
  • We have already eaten.
  • The man smiled.
  • Dad always drives carefully.
  • Miss Lee always dresses very smartly.
  • Can your little brother read?

Positive and Negative Sentences

A positive sentence tells you that something is so. A sentence that tells you something is not so is called a negative sentence. It contains a negative word like not, never, no, no one, nobody, none, or a negative verb like isn't or can't or won't.

Questions

There are two kinds of questions: yes or no questions and wh- questions.

Yes-No Questions

You ask a yes or no question to get yes or no as the answer. Use the verbs be, have or do, or any of the helping verbs, to ask yes or no questions.

  • Can you swim? Yes.
  • Are they coming? No.
  • Is it raining? No.
  • May I come in? Yes.

In questions, the helping or auxiliary verbs come before the subject of the sentence. When be and have are used as ordinary verbs, they come before the subjects, too.

  • Jim is ill today. Is Jim ill today?
  • She has an older brother Has she an older brother?
  • The cats want to be fed. Do the cats want to be fed?
  • We should go now. Should we go now?
  • It will rain tomorrow. Will it rain tomorrow?
  • You may use my computer. May I use your computer?
  • Kate can ride a bike. Can Kate ride a bike?

Wh- Questions

Wh- questions usually include the verbs be, have, do, or any of the helping verbs.

To ask for facts, use the question words what, which, who, whom, how, when, where. The helping verbs in wh- questions usually come before the subject. So does the verb be when it is used as an ordinary verb.

  • Where are you?
  • What is David saying?
  • How did you get up here?
  • Why was the girl crying?
  • Which color do you prefer?
  • Who is she going to invite to her party?
  • Whom is she going to invite to her party?
  • What is your problem?
  • When do the stores open in the morning?
  • Where shall I put this box?
  • What have you done to my computer?
  • How am I going to finish all this work?
  • What would you like for dinner?

If the wh- question word is the subject of the question, it comes before the verb. For example:

  • Who told you that?
  • What made you change your mind?