A combination or group of words that gives a complete meaning, thought or idea is called a sentence.

I am eating an apple.

The above combination of words gives us a complete meaning or idea. Such a meaningful combination of words is called a sentence.

Now, see the following group of words.

Eat saw book an hour doctor.

The above group of words cannot be called a sentence, because it (as a whole sentence) does not give a complete meaning or sense to a reader. Each word of this group has a meaning but this group of words, (as a whole sentence) does not give us a complete meaningful sense. Therefore, the first condition for making a sentence is that its words should be in a proper sequence to give a meaningful sense.

Apart from a proper sequence, correct words must be used to make a sentence. A sentence has a subject, a verb and an object. A verb is a word that expresses an action. e.g., eat, buy, etc. A subject is an agent that does some work. An object is a thing, on which some work is being done. See the following example.

He writes a letter.

In the above example, ‘He’ is the subject because it does some work (i.e., writing). In the same sentence, ‘letter’ is the object because some work is being done on it (i.e., it is being written).

Moreover, auxiliaries (e.g., is, was, has, had, will), prepositions (e.g., on, at, to), articles (e.g., a, an, the), and conjunctions (e.g., but, and) may also be used in a sentence depending on the structure of the sentence.

A sentence always starts with a capital letter (first letter of the first word) and ends with a full-stop or period (.), question mark (?), or exclamation mark (!).

Learning the grammatically correct structure is essential for becoming a good writer and speaker. In this regard, different parts of English grammar provide rules of the correct structure of a sentence.

  For instance, the Tenses in English grammar tells us the way to express an action with regard to the correct time of its occurrence. Different sentences express an action along with the time of its occurrence, such as past, present or future time. Tenses tell us which form of a verb (main verb as well as helping verb) should be used for an action that occurred in past, occurs in the present or will occur in future. Main verbs are those verbs that express the basic meaning of an action, e.g., eat, write, buy, etc. Helping verbs (auxiliary verbs) do not express the basic meaning of action on their own but they are used along with the main verb in a sentence to express the correct time (past, present or future time) of occurrence of the action, e.g., is, are, was, has, had, will etc. The main verb has three forms: base form, past simple form and past participle form. These forms are also simply known as 1st, 2nd and 3rd forms of a verb. For instance, write, wrote and written are three forms of a verb. Adding ‘ing’ to 1st form of a verb turns it into another form known as present participle e.g., writing. The tense tells which form of the main verb (e.g., 1st, 2nd, 3rd or present participle) and which helping verb (e.g., is, are, was, has, had, or will)should be used in a sentence to express the action along with the correct time of its occurrence.


  • He had written a letter. (action occurred in past)
  • He is writing a letter.    (action is occurring in present)
  • He will write a letter.    (action will occur in future)

  Active and Passive Voice is another important part of English grammar regarding the correct structure of a sentence. The action of a subject in relation to an object is expressed in two ways: 1) Active Voice and 2) Passive Voice. Active voice is the common style of expression, which is frequently used in our daily routine, in which, a sentence starts with the ‘subject’ and ends with the ‘object’. e.g., He bought books. However, there is another style of expression in which the commonly used structure of a sentence is reversed such that the sentence starts with the ‘object’ and ends with the ‘subject’. This style of expression is called a passive voice. For instance, the example (He bought books) can be expressed in the passive voice as ‘Books were bought by him’. Using passive voice is preferred in a situation where it is intended to emphasize the object rather than the subject. Learning active and passive voice is essential for advanced writing skills. A sentence is expressed in passive voice according to certain rules. For instance, only 3rd form of a verb (e.g., written, eaten) is used in passive voice. Similarly, the helping verb is used according to the tense of the sentence in its active voice form.


  • Active voice: He eats an apple.
  • Passive voice: An apple is eaten by him.

The structure of a sentence changes when expressed as active or passive voice but the meaning of the sentence remains the same whether expressed as active or passive voice.

  Direct and indirect speech is another important area of English grammar regarding the structure of a sentence. These are two ways for conveying spoken-words (or message) of one person to another person. For instance, you see your friend (named John) at your college who says to you ‘I want to meet your brother’. When you come home, you can say to your brother about your friend’s wish to meet him in the following two ways.

  • Direct speech: John said, I want to meet your brother.
  • Indirect speech: John said that he wanted to meet my brother.

It can be seen in the above example that in direct speech, the actual-spoken words (with no change in them) of a person are conveyed to another person. However, in the indirect speech, the words are slightly changed such as verbs and prepositions are changed. Since the actual spoken-words of a person are quoted in the direct speech, these words are enclosed in inverted commas or quotation marks.

Here are some basic examples of sentences:

 She is singing a song.
 He is a doctor.
 Kids are playing in the garden.
 He will come here tomorrow.
 We watched a movie.
 What is your name?
 It has been raining since 3 O’clock.
 I am learning how to drive a car.
 She wrote him a letter.
 They bought a new computer.
 There are ten students in the classroom.
 Where had you gone the last night?
 The birds are flying in the sky.
 He got admission in a new school.


Articles in English Grammar