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Sentence or sentencing may refer to:

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SENTENCE (Lat. sententia, a way of thinking, opinion, judgment, vote, sentire, to feel, think), a word of which the principal meanings now are: (a) in grammar, a thought expressed in words in complete grammatical form and composed of subject and predicate, and (b) in law, a judicial decision. In law, the term signifies either (I) a judgment of a court of criminal jurisdiction imposing a punishment such as a fine or imprisonment, or (2) a decree of certain competent courts, as ecclesiastical and admiralty courts. In sense (I) a sentence may be either definite or final, i.e. one giving finality to the case, or interlocutory, determining some point in the progress of the case (see, however, Judgment). The sentences inflicted by the courts of various countries vary according to the gravity of the offence (see Criminal Law; also Capital Punishment; and, for the "indeterminate" sentence, Recidivism). Concurrent sentences are those which run from the same date in respect of convictions on various indictments. A cumulative sentence is the sum total of consecutive sentences passed in respect of each distinct offence of which an accused person has been found guilty on several counts of an indictment. A sentence, in the case of trials before a court of assize, commences to run from the first day of the sitting of the court, but in that of courts of quarter sessions from the time the sentence is pronounced.

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Simple English

A sentence is a group of words that are put together to mean something. A sentence is the basic unit of language which expresses a complete thought. It does this by following the grammatical rules of syntax.

A complete sentence has at least a subject and a main verb to state (declare) a complete thought. Short example: Walker walks. A subject is the noun that is doing the main verb. The main verb is the verb that the subject is doing. In English and many other languages, the first word of a written sentence has a capital letter. At the end of the sentence there is a full stop or full point (American: 'period').


Phrases and clauses

A phrase or clause is part of a sentence.[1]p773–777 Above, the words 'at the end of the sentence' is a phrase; 'there is' is a verb, and the rest is also a phrase.

This is an example of a sentence:

  • The dog is happy.

In this sentence, 'The dog' is the subject, and 'is' is the verb.

This is an example of a phrase:

  • The happy dog

There is no verb, so we do not know anything about what the happy dog is doing. It is not a sentence.

A clause is a sentence within a sentence. Example:

  • They milked the cows, and then made cheese and butter. This sentence has two co-ordinate (~equal) clauses, linked by 'and'.[1]p220

Types of Sentence:

  • A simple sentence is one clause. The dog is happy.
  • A compound sentence is many clauses. These clauses are joined together with conjunctions, punctuation, or both. The dog is happy, but the cat is sad.
  • A complex sentence is one clause with a relative clause. The dog, which is eating the bone, is happy.
  • A complex-compound sentence (or compound-complex sentence) is many clauses, at least one of which is a relative clause: The dog, which is eating the bone, is happy, but the cat is sad.

Sentences have different purposes:

  • A declarative sentence, or declaration, is the most common type of sentence. It tells something. It ends with a full stop . (The dog is happy.)
  • An interrogative sentence, or question, asks something. It ends with a question mark ? (Is the dog happy?)
  • An exclamatory sentence, or exclamation, says something out of the ordinary. It ends with an exclamation mark ! (That dog is the happiest dog I have ever seen!)
  • An imperative sentence, or command, tells someone to do something. (Give the dog a bone.)

Basic English sentences

Here are some sentences written in Basic English:

The sky is blue

Today is Monday

Tomorrow is Tuesday

The baby is smiling

This is the road to take

Read a book about the history of America

There are beautiful flowers growing in the garden

The cushions are new and I can experience the comfort well

Words that can be in sentences:

Other pages


  1. 1.0 1.1 McArthur, Tom (ed) 1992. The Oxford companion to the English language. Oxford University Press.


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