Sentences – definition, meaning, and types

The sentence in English grammar

What is sentence?

A sentence is a collection of words that together give complete meaning to the readers or listeners. It is the most fundamental unit of communication, whether written or spoken.


  1. Ram goes to temples on a daily basis.
  2. Hari is sound asleep.
  3. Students are learning Tamil.
  4. Gold is an expensive metal.

Parts of sentence

Any meaningful sentence has two main components, as listed below.

  1. Subject
  2. Predicate


It answers the question “Who” or “What.”


  1. Priya is writing an article.

Here, Priya is the subject. It gives the answer to the question ‘Who is taking the class?’

  1. The water is not clean.

Here, ‘The water is the subject. It answers the question, ‘What is not clean?


It provides information about the subject. It informs the intended audience about the action taken by the subject. It is made up of at least one verb and an object.


1) Swathi is taking the class.

Here, ‘is taking class’ is the predicate in this sentence as it tells about the subject Swathi.

2) Students are learning French.

Here, ‘are learning French’ is the predicate in this sentence as it answers the question ‘What are the students learning. 

Types of Sentences based on their function

Sentences are classified based on their function and structure. Based on the function, the sentences are classified as below.

  1. Declarative Sentences
  2. Interrogative Sentences
  3. Imperative Sentences
  4. Exclamatory Sentences

Declarative Sentences

 It gives information to the target audience.


  1. The child is very naughty.

This sentence gives information about the child’s behavior.

  1. The meal was very tasty.

This sentence gives information about the taste of the meal.

Interrogative Sentences

It helps to ask a question. These sentences end with a ‘?’


  1. Who is inside the house?
  2. Where is Radha’s book?
  3. How is Ramu?
  4. Will James come tomorrow?

Imperative Sentences

It can be used to make a request or issue a command. These sentences terminate with a full stop or an exclamation mark.


  1. Please send your details.
  2. Put the key inside the pocket.
  3. Wait for me!

Exclamatory Sentences

It aids in the expression of intense emotions and feelings. There is an exclamation mark at the conclusion of each of these sentences.


  1. This is a beautiful fish!
  2. What a beautiful dress!
  3. Raju is such an intelligent boy!

Types of Sentences based on their structure

Based on the structure, the sentences are classified as

  1. Simple sentence
  2. Compound sentence
  3. Complex sentence

Simple Sentences

These sentences have an independent clause. It has a subject and a verb. It conveys a complete meaning.


  1. Raju runs.

Here, ‘Raju’ is the subject and ‘runs’ is a verb. The sentence delivers a complete thought.

  1. Vanitha cooks food.

Here ‘Vanitha’ is the subject and ‘cooks’ is the verb.

Compound Sentences

These sentences have two or more independent clauses which are joined by a coordinating conjunction. The coordinating conjunctions that are used to join the independent clauses are ‘for’, ‘and’, ‘nor’, ‘but’, ‘or’, ‘yet’ and ‘so’.


  1. John opened the door and he looked outside.

Here, there are two independent clauses. The first one is ‘John opened the door’ and the second one is ‘he looked outside’. Both these independent clauses are joined together by the conjunction ‘and’.

  1. It was raining so I took a cab.

Here, there are two independent clauses. The first one is ‘It was raining’ and the second independent clause is ‘I took a cab’. Both these independent clauses are joined by the conjunction ‘so’.

Complex Sentences

These sentences contain an independent clause and a dependent clause. The dependent clauses cannot convey a complete meaning by themselves.


  1. When Ramu received the award, everyone cheered.

Here, ‘When Ramu received the award’ is a dependent clause. It cannot convey any meaning by itself. ‘Everyone cheered’ is an independent clause.

  1. Now that I have a degree, I can secure a job.

Here, ‘Now that I have a degree’ is a dependent clause, and ‘I can secure a job’ is an independent clause.


Sentences are an essential component of efficient communication. They assist us in communicating our ideas. As a result, phrases should be exact and grammatically correct in order to accurately communicate our views. To conclude, a sentence is an arrangement of words that follows the grammatical rules of a language to communicate a thought in the full sense. Each sentence can be broken down into two main components, the subject of the sentence and the predicate of the sentence.

Further, a sentence can be classified into different subcategories based on its structure or function. By function, there are four types of sentences i.e declarative, imperative, interrogative, and exclamation sentences and by structure, there are three types of sentences i.e simple, compound, and complex. These are categories that serve different speech acts or intentions behind a sentence. Here we have discussed different types of sentences with examples.

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