Style Manual: Sentences By Ana Ramirez


Chapter 2: The Sentence

What is a Sentence

What a Sentence is Not

Types of Sentences

Clauses: Independent and Dependent

Direct and Indirect Objects

Subject Complements

Phrases: Infinitive, Participial, Prepositional

What a Sentence Is:

In order for it to be a sentence, it has to fulfil two main things. It must be a full, complete thought and must contain a subject and predicate.

An example of a sentence in the simplest case would be “He ran". He is the subject, what the sentence is about, and ran is the predicate, what the subject is doing. And it's a full thought because it expresses a full idea, meaning it doesn't cut off or is fragmented.

The predicate is basically all the other parts of a sentence that is not the subject. It usually is the main verb the sentence and everything following after that.

“He ran quickly through the dense crowds of people.

The subject is not always just one word. It also includes all words that describe it.

The huge, sparking cat chased after the butterflies the flew by.”

What a sentence is Not:

It might be helpful to understand what a sentence is not in order to help better understand what a actually sentence is.

A sentence is not an uncompleted thought or idea and is not without a subject and a verb. Sentences like these are called "fragments". Sometimes fragments can look like sentences.

"When I turn, seeing there's no one here"

This doesn't have a subject and verb that is a part of a independent sentence. It's just phrases, so it's not a real sentence.

A run-on is another kind of false sentence. A run-on is when two or more independent sentences are put together into one sentence without any punctuation or conjunctions.

She went to the park for a walk she ran into a friend feeding the geese.”

In order for this to be a proper sentence, it needs to be changed to be something like this:

She went to the park for a walk, and she ran into a friend feeding the geese.”

You can add a comma and the coordinating conjunction, and or add a semicolon between the two independent sentences.

She went to the park for a walk; she ran into a friend feeding the geese.

Types of sentences:

  • Declarative

It's a sentence that declares something. It asserts a statement or an opinion and ends with a period.

Ants are really fun to step on because they’re so tiny!

Ants get stepped on because they’re so tiny.

  • Interrogative

It’s a sentence that asks some form of a question and has to end with a question mark.

Is it fun to step on ants because they’re so tiny?

Why do you find it fun to step on ants?

  • Exclamatory

It’s a sentence that’s exclaims something, usually expressing strong emotion of excitement, happiness, anger, etc. and ends with an exclamation mark.

We’ll never forgive you for trampling our tiny bodies with your massive feet!

I got to step on ants today!

Types of Sentences Con't

  • Imperative

This a sentence that expresses an order or a request of some sort. These types of sentences can end with either a

Please stop stepping on ants because they’re so tiny.”

Ah! Don’t step on us!

  • Though it look like the subjects are missing from these sentences, they’re actually not.
  • The subject here is “invisible” because it’s implied. It implied that the speaker is talking to “you”, the listener. So it still contains a subject and a predicate, making it a complete sentence.*

Ah! (You) Don’t step us!

  • Simple

It’s a sentence that at least has a subject and verb.

We will have our revenge.

The ants made a plan.”

CLause: Independent and Dependent

Before we go into detail about the last types of sentences, it would be better if we went over what independent and dependent clauses were.

A clause is like a sentence. It can have a subject and verb, but it’s not always a full thought. Clauses containing a full thought are independent because they can stand on their own like a sentence.

Clauses that do not have a full thought are dependent because they can’t stand by themselves since they do not contain completed ideas.

"When I wake up in the morning, I drag myself out of bed"

The bold is a independent clause and the other part is the dependent one.

Types of Sentences Con't:

  • Compound

This is when two independent clauses are put together into one sentence. The two clauses are either connected by a semicolon or a conjunction with the proper punctuation but never just a comma.

Yesterday, I stepped on some ant; however, I did not today.”

"Yesterday, we were stepped on, but we will do the stepping today."

  • Complex

This is when a dependent clause and an independent clause are put together to create one sentence. In this case, you would use a comma to separate the two sentences.

Today on my way home from school, I was attack by a mass army of ants.

The bolded section of the sentence is the independent clause, and the other part is the dependent one.

  • Compound-Complex

This is a combination of a compound sentence and a complex sentence. It’s when two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause are joined together to create one super sentence.

Due to the ant attack the other day, I no longer find it fun to step on ants; moreover, I have now developed a fear of ants.

Since our attack was launched, we’ve been able to live in peace; however, we’ll never be able to recover our lost comrades from those horrible days.

  • The bolded sections of the sentence are the independent clauses, and the other part is the dependent one.

Direct and Indirect objects

A direct object is a part of the sentence or word that receives the action of the subject. The thing was acted upon or the action was place upon by the subject.

"Steven bought a car yesterday."

In this sentence, the direct object is car because it the thing Steven, the subject, bought, meaning the action of Steven was placed upon the car.

An indirect object is the recipient of the direct object. It's the thing that indirectly receives the action of the subject.

"Steven gave me his new car."

Here, me is the indirect object of the sentence because I received the car, the direct object, so I become the recipient of the direct object.

Subject complement

This is an adjective, noun, or pronoun that follows a linking verb. In this case, a linking verb is a verb that connects the subject to additional information about the subject, the subject complement.

When Steve lost his car, he felt sad for 3 weeks.

Here, sad is the subject complement because it's being linked to the the subject, Steve, by the linking verb, felt.


Phrases are a groups of words that act like a part of speech. They do not have a subject and a verb, so they are not and cannot be sentences.

There was a small rabbit resting over the garden fence.

Looking over the mountains, she saw a scenic view.

Types of Phrases:

  • Infinitive phrase begins with an infinitive and can act as an adverb, noun, or adjective.

To kill a spider is a bad omen.

  • Participial phrase begins with a past or present participle and always functions as an adjective.

Running across the field, the small dog chase after butterflies.

  • Prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and can act as an adverb, noun, or adjective.

Below the bridge, there was a huge nest of bees


Created with images by Sharon Mollerus - "Beatle" • Bulldog Pottery - Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henne - "Ant" • fdecomite - "panic in the anthill" • PublicDomainPictures - "ant hill field" • JustyCinMD - "caterpillar 2" • makamuki0 - "cicada i cicádido crayfish" • CH.Tseng - "DSC_3600" • castleguard - "lavender bee summer" • Illuvis - "caterpillar larva insect" • dominik18s - "this is a Schizura Unicornis (Unicorn Caterpillar), or more commonly know as a moth caterpillar" • siamesepuppy - "Chrysalis" • miniformat65 - "knapweed fritillary melitaea phoebe butterfly" • RPN - "bees combs insect"

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