Introduction to sentence construction


A sentence is a group of words that makes sense on its own.

Eg: Maria went to the shops.

A sentence always has a subject (eg Maria’) and a verb (‘went’).


‘To the shops’ is not a sentence, because it does not give enough

information.

You need to know who (subject) did what (verb).


A sentence always starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop (.),

question mark (?) or exclamation mark (!).


For example:

• The cat ate the food. (a fact or statement)

• Do you want more? (a question)

• You must go! (a command or shout)


Tips:

• Sentences can be very short (2 words) or longer.

• If they are too long, they can be difficult to read and understand.

• Before you write, you should be able to say the whole sentence to

   yourself. If you can’t, it might be too long.


Sentence construction-Part 2

Commas and joining words

It is a common mistake to link two sentences by using a comma.

Eg: Sam ran home, she was still late.

The comma here should be a full stop (period).


Short sentences are fine, but if you want to link 2 sentences, use a joining

word (conjunction) like ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘because’, etc.

Eg: Sam ran home but she was still late.


Describing words

You can also make sentences longer and more interesting by adding

describing words, like adjectives and adverbs.


• An adjective describes a noun, eg ‘hungry cat’.

• An adverb describes a verb, eg ‘ran quickly’.


‘The starving cat quickly ate the food.’

‘Starving’ is the adjective, ‘quickly’ is the adverb.


Order

• It is important to put the words in the right order.

• This makes the sentence clear and easy for the reader to understand.

• You can often change the word order to make the sentence clearer.


‘Starving, the cat quickly ate the food’. makes the reader understand how

hungry the cat is.

‘Quickly the starving cat ate the food’ makes the reader understand how

fast it ate.


Which is better?

‘Making a sentence as clear as you can is important.’

‘It’s important to make a sentence as clear as you can.’