This article focuses on all the parts, structure and types of sentences for CLAT and other law entrances.
Whenever we speak or write we use words which are generally in a group. Such a group of words that make complete sense is called a sentence.
For example, Homer sat in a corner Jack little is a group of words. When these words are grouped together to make some sense i.e Little Jack Homer sat in a corner, is called a sentence.
As lawyers, we are very careful of what we write and therefore a good sentence structure and sentence construction are paramount.
Thus CLAT aspirants are tested on their skills to make a sentence and at the same rate use it correctly.
Parts of a sentence
- The subject is a noun or a pronoun—a person, place or thing— often accompanied by modifiers. Therefore, the noun or pronoun is who or what the sentence is about.
- A predicate is that part of a sentence containing the verb, objects, or phrases governed by the verb.
- A phrase is a group of words that make sense but are unable to convey a complete idea and cannot form a complete sentence. For example, sat on a wall, of great beauty, rises in the east are phrases which make sense individually but fail to drive home a complete idea.
- A clause is a group of words that unlike phrase have a subject and predicate of their own. They form a part of a sentence.
Structure of Sentences
Basic/ Simple Sentence
A simple sentence conveys a thought or an idea. It has a subject and a predicate. It communicates such an idea as an independent clause. It’s a complete sentence. Thus, a simple sentence is made up of a noun and a verb.
For example, Sneha paints too much. where “Sneha” = subject noun, “paints” = verb are the major components.
Megan and Ron ate too much and felt sick. Although there are two subjects and two verbs, it is still a simple sentence because both verbs share the same subjects and express one complete thought.
Such type of sentence is a combination of two independent clauses or two ideas. Stated simply it is two sentences grouped into one.
An independent clause is a part of a sentence that can stand alone because it contains a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought. These independent clauses are bound by a co-coordinating conjunction/ connector or a semicolon.
For example, they spoke to him in Spanish, but he responded in English. It is a compound sentence that uses a conjunction to separate two individual clauses.
A complex sentence is a kind of sentence that includes an independent clause joined by one or more dependent clauses. Such a dependent clause either lacks a subject or a verb or has both a subject and a verb that does not express a complete thought.
A complex sentence is always linked through subordinating conjunction (as, because, since, after, although, when) or a relative pronoun (who, that, which).
An example can be “ The satellite was destroyed when the rocket exploded.” where a subordinating conjunction “when” weakens the clause “the rocket exploded” so that it can no longer stand-alone. “The satellite was destroyed” is an independent clause. Combining the two clauses creates a complex sentence.
A compound-complex sentence is a combination of the two kinds of sentence discussed above which has two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
For example, After the two soccer players lost their game, they joined their other teammates for lunch, and they went to the movies.
If we remove the dependent clause “after the two soccer players lost their game,” we have a compound sentence. The dependent clause makes this sentence compound-complex.
Types of sentences
Assertive/ Declarative Sentence
Such kind of sentence declare a fact or make an assertion. A declarative sentence ends with a period. Its purpose is to relay information.
For example, Research on the topic suggests that grammar is essential to success.
‘Rene’ loves playing football.
An imperative sentence expresses a command, a request or an entreaty. It does not simply state a fact rather asks someone to do something. Imperative sentences are easily identified because it misses a subject. It is always found in the second person.
For example, Please shut the door to keep out the bugs.
Radha feeds the cat.
As the name indicates, this sentence interrogates or asks a question and ends with a question mark. Whilst most interrogative sentences start with question words like “how” or “why,” but others are yes/no questions begin with the verb instead of the noun.
Example: Which countries did you visit while in Europe?
Will Sherri get to keep all her lottery winnings?
Where do you live?
Sentences that convey a strong emotion rather than just mere action. Such sentences express the exclaim in her voice. It contains both a subject and a predicate. It ends with an exclamation mark. It is used in casual and not formal conversations.
For example, Help me!
What a terrible, big eyes you have!
What a shame!
She is on her path to fall!
Quick Practice: These were the various types/structure of sentences. Try to memorize and write one sentence for each type on your own.
The sentence thus is an important tool in the life of a lawyer and its usage depends upon the intention of the writer or speaker.
Now that our readers are familiar with different types/structure of sentences they should be able to use different structures and incorporate more variety into their writing once they reach the law school.