Books begin with sentences, then paragraphs, then manuscripts. However, if one doesn't understand sentences, can't write them correctly, then he won't manage to create a story, an article, or a book, whether fiction or nonfiction.
Starting with this article, I am going to post a series of columns concerning the writing of sentences. This first one is short and simple: What is a sentence? I will then continue to types of sentences and sentence fragments and other components.
Let's begin with what is a sentence:
A sentence is a group of words (clauses) which have a complete thought.
Clauses: a dependent clause (subordinate clause) is a group of words that has a subject and verb but not a complete thought. (a sentence fragment is a dependent clause); an independent clause (main clause) is a group of words that has a subject and verb and forms a complete thought.
Simple sentence: one independent clause
Russel enjoys baseball.
Compound sentence: two or more independent clauses joined correctly with punctuation (a semicolon or colon, not just a comma) or a comma and a conjunction
March is a windy month in Oklahoma, but it often has bouts of winter weather.
March is a windy month in Oklahoma; it often has bouts of winter weather.
March is a windy month in Oklahoma: It often has bouts of winter weather.
Complex sentence: one independent clause and one or more dependent clause
When the wind blows, the temperatures seem colder.
Compound-complex sentence: two or more independent clauses joined correctly and one or more dependent clauses
When the wind blows, the temperatures seem colder, and I don’t want to leave the house.
We can use a variety of sentence types in writing to make the writing more interesting.
Some sub-topics dealing with sentence structure include using commas correctly, sentence fragments, and run-on sentences, which we will discuss in future articles.