The sentence is the most basic aspect of the English Language. We use sentences in communicating in everyday life, in business and in learning. Sentences are the basic building blocks of English Language, or any language there is. So mastering sentences is a sure way of communicating effectively and for ensuring that you pass your exams in English Language.In face-to-face conversations especially informal ones we tend to use incomplete sentences relying on gestures and context to complete our communication. However, it should be stressed that the habit of using incomplete sentences if left unchecked, can begin to affect us even when we intent to communicate in a formal situation. In non-formal conversations the text of our communication resembles this:
“How was your day?”
I think you may have figured that the illustrative conversation above is likely to be the interchange between a parent and a child, perhaps at the close of a day. The characters communicating know each other so a description like “usual” is understood clearly. This situation is not obtainable when writing-so please make sure that you communicate clearly and convey complete thoughts.
A sentence is made up of a group of words or terms that convey a complete thought and has a subject and a verb. A verb is a word that denotes action. The subject is the root of the sentence; it is the part of the sentence that carries the object of reference. In simple terms, the subject is the part of the sentence that tells us about the person, or thing that the whole sentence is about.
An illustration will drive home the point: Lily is a well-behaved and attentive girl.
The subject of the sentence is Lily.
A sentence also contains a predicate. The predicate is the part of the sentence that tells us more about the subject. A student may write, “The Zimbabwe ruins in Masvingo”. You may have seen that I have written an incomplete sentence. There is no complete thought there. The statement did not tell a complete thought about the Zimbabwe ruins which is the subject.
Complete the sentence
I see the problem of incomplete sentences everyday and I feel that it accounts for many failures in English Language. See if you can establish the subject and the predicate in the following sentences that are complete.
1. The Government of Zimbabwe is in the process of restructuring the education curriculum.
2. Graceful and delicately stripped, the zebra is one of the animals of Africa.
3. The Sarajevo Incident, the immediate cause of the Great War, took place in 1914.
4. The Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
5. Many teachers in English face the daunting task of making students who do not have a culture of reading pass the subject.
Please also keep in mind that there are two types of predicates: The simple and the complete predicate. The simple predicate is usually a verb, and it is those words that are key.
Please note the following statement that illustrates the point: The ways human beings communicate are varied and diversified as human nature is. The simple predicate is the word communicates. The complete predicate is usually a verb phrase. Tatenda ran very swiftly that day during the inter-house athletics competition at her school. “Ran very swiftly” is the verb phrase.
So far we have seen the importance of the sentence when writing complete thoughts. So make it your aim to understand what makes up a complete sentence.
Keep in mind please the subject and the predicate. Let’s meet for another class with a different aspect of English Language.
Vuso Mhlanga is an experienced teacher in English Language and Advanced Level Literature in English. He can be contacted on:[email protected]/0778674863.