A sentence is a combination of words that are conjoined together to convey an idea, description, or event. Its boundaries can be recognized easily as it starts with a capital letter and ends with a terminal punctuation mark such as a period, exclamation mark, or a question mark. It is imperative for any writer to understand the aspect of sentence structure so as to analyze and develop his or her writing skills. This is aimed at ensuring that any sentence gives any reader the highest amount of understanding with a minimum risk of understanding. Simply put, a sentence structure is the arrangement of clauses in a sentence. There are three kinds of sentence structures, namely; simple, compound and complex sentences. It is imperative to understand that each of the above is identified by the number of types and number of clauses found within a sentence.
In order to understand the concept of sentence structures, it is important to consider word classes or the conventional parts of a sentence; noun, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, interjections, and prepositions. A sentence is basically comprised of a subject, a verb, and often an object. The subject, which is the noun, is a word that names an individual, thing, or place. The verb, which is a predicate, follows this subject as it identifies a state or action of being. Finally, the object follows the verb and it usually receives the action.
As aforementioned, the first type of sentence structure is called a simple sentence. A simple sentence requires a subject and verb. Ordinarily, writers include some additional words so as to explain the subject. The sentence or the part of sentence that constitutes a complete idea or contains a subject and a verb is referred to as an independent clause. An example of a simple sentence is “I like Biology.” This sentence conveys a complete idea. “I” is the subject and “like” is the verb. The word “Biology” expresses an understanding of what the subject likes. Note that this simple sentence has one independent clause.
In contrast to a simple sentence, Megginson (par 9) asserts that a compound sentence is comprised of two or more independent clauses, which are joined by a coordinating adjective such as “however” or a coordinating conjunction like “and,” or by a semicolon, or by a colon (). For example, “I walked to class” and “The teacher waved hi,” are both simple sentences. These two can be joined by the conjunction “and” to create a compound sentence “I walked to class and the teacher waved hi.”
A complex sentence comprises of an independent clause joined together with a subordinate clause. The independent clause in such cases often functions as a complete sentence. While the subordinate clause may contain a subject and a verb, it can not serve as an independent sentence (Megginson par. 12). This is because subordinate clauses do not have as much strength ad independent clauses. For example, “Both silk and cotton are valuable, although silk is worth more” comprises of the independent clause “Both silk and cotton are valuable” and the dependent clause “although silk is worth more.” Note that the dependent clause does not express a full idea, and it is a subordinate due to the fact that the conjunction “although” shows that what follows is of less importance.
In conclusion, it is imperative to avoid fragments when working with sentence structure. A fragment is a dependent clause or an incomplete thought by itself. “However, she went home,” is a fragment because there is something missing from the though expressed by it. Moreover, “imperatives” fragments should not be confused with fragments because they give commands.