What Is A Sentence?
In simple terms, a sentence is a set of words that contain:
Look at this simple example:
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:
Note that the predicate always contains a verb. Sometimes, in fact, the predicate is only a verb:
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:
Note that a sentence expresses a complete thought. Here are some examples of complete and incomplete thoughts:
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:
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.
* British English = full stop | American English = period