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Back to Basics: Sentence Parts and Sentence Types

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Sometimes producing the best writing requires reviewing even the most basic components. We’ll discuss everything from what a sentence is to the different types of sentences.

White text over orange background reads "sentences." (Sentence structure, sentence parts, types of sentences)
This blog post will go over the basics of sentences.

If you want to become a chef, you should know the ins and outs of a kitchen. Maybe your dream is to become an artist. In that case, you should become an expert at even the most basic components of art, like primary colors. Similarly, if you want to become a proficient writer, you should thoroughly understand one of the most basic aspects of grammar: sentences. This brief guide will go over what a sentence is, the parts of a sentence, and the different types of sentences.

GIF of Kermit the frog typing. (Elements of a sentence)
You'll be writing masterful sentences after reading this guide. 

What Is a Sentence?

First thing’s first: What is a sentence? Well, this is a sentence. This is a sentence, too. In English grammar, a sentence is a set of words that expresses a complete thought and includes a subject and a verb. Sentences start with a capital letter and end with a period, colon, exclamation point, or a question mark.


What Are the Parts of a Sentence?

The basic parts of a sentence are subjects and predicates.

The subject is the noun or pronoun that the action is about.

The lion is sleeping in the shade.

In the sentence above, lion is the subject.

A predicate is what the subject is doing, or what is being done to the subject (or the condition the noun phrase is in). A predicate usually includes a verb.

The lion is sleeping in the shade.

Here, sleeping in the shade is the predicate.

An easy way to figure out the subject of the sentence is to locate the verb, and identify who or what is doing the action. For example:

After a difficult semester, Julie finally graduated.

In this sentence, Julie is doing the verb, which is graduated.


What Are Sentence Complements?

Sometimes a sentence requires more than a subject and a predicate to be complete. That’s where complements come in. There are a few different types of complements:

1) Direct Objects

A direct object is a noun that receives the action of the verb.

The boy threw the ball over the fence.

2) Indirect Objects

An indirect object refers to a word or phrase that is the recipient of the direct object.

The boy threw the ball over the fence to Linda.

Indirect objects answer “to whom?” or “for whom?” In this case, when you ask “to whom?” the answer is Linda, the indirect object.

3) Object Complements

Object complements give more complete information about the direct object.

She made me happy.

Here, the object complement “happy” provides more details about “me.” Without the object complement, the sentence would be grammatically incorrect.

4) Subject Complements

Like object complements, subject complements provide further information about the subject. Subject complements always follow linking verbs.

That box is a gift.

In the sentence above, gift is the subject complement that gives more information on that box. Here, removing the subject complement would also make the sentence grammatically incorrect.


What Are the Types of Sentences?

There are four different types of sentences:

1) Declarative Sentences

A declarative sentence makes a statement and relays information.

I will be at a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.

2) Exclamatory Sentences

Exclamatory sentences express excitement, enthusiasm, or other strong emotion. These usually end with an exclamation point.

I’m so excited to see you!

3) Imperative Sentences

An imperative sentence communicates a command, request, invitation, warning, or instruction.

You need to come home right now.

4) Interrogative Sentences

Lastly, interrogative sentences ask questions. These end with a question mark.

Where did you go?


Crafting beautiful, eloquent sentences is what sets writers apart from the rest. LanguageTool can recommend stylistic improvements—like suggesting the active voice and making sure your sentence length is optimal. As if that weren’t enough, LanguageTool can ensure your text is error-free by detecting and correcting all types of mistakes.


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