What is a sentence?
A sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete thought.

In a sentence the meaning is clear. No important words are missing. Your words express a complete thought. Your sentence can stand alone and make sense.

Rules and examples to help you make simple sentences.
To make a sentence you need three things:
1. A sentence is a group of words that makes sense on its own.

Cheese, car, house, table on Tuesday.
This isn't a sentence - it doesn't make sense.

I parked my car next to my house.
This is a sentence. You can understand what it means. It makes sense on its own.

2. When you are writing you need to use the right sentence punctuation.
Using punctuation will show the person who is reading your writing where the sentences begin and end.

A sentence must begin with a capital letter.
A sentence must end with a full-stop (.), a question mark (?), or an exclamation mark (!).
BEWARE! Sometimes people confuse the punctuation to use at the end of a sentence. You can use commas (,), colons (:) or semicolons (;) in your writing, but they should never be used instead of a full-stop.

3. A sentence also needs two kinds of words in it:

A sentence must have a VERB (a doing word).
e.g. like, is, cooking, walked, need.
A sentence must also have a SUBJECT. This is the person, or the thing, that is doing the verb.
e.g. I, Beppe, Tuesday, dog, you, table, the weather
Here are some examples of sentences that show you the verbs and the subjects:
Last week Peggy redecorated the house.
Are you hungry yet?
Martin, be quiet.
Tuesday was very rainy and cold.

Other things to know about sentences:
Sentences can be very short, or very long. There is no correct number of words that should be in a sentence. The length of the sentence depends on what you want to say and the effect you want to get.
BEWARE! If your sentences go on for many lines, make sure that you haven't really put several sentences together as one sentence.

It's important to remember that you don't always need to write in sentences. For example, a shopping list doesn't need sentences, but a job application does.
You can find Skillswise at http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise
This factsheet is BBC Copyright

The games at this site will help you practice identifying complete thoughts:
 Making Sentences

A good sentence tells who, did what, when, where, when, why, how. Here is a site that practices this skill in a funny  way.
 Lionel's Tall Tale Sentence Generator

Good books to practice with:
    Heller, Ruth. 1999. Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs. Paper Star (Penguin/Putnam).
    Heller, Ruth. 1998. Merry-Go-Round:  A Book About Nouns. Bt Books.
Things we can do:
    1. Make a list of nouns: people, places, things, ideas.
    2. Make a list of verbs: action words
    3. Use strips of adding machine tape to write a sentence that tells who, did what, when, where, how.
    4. Share.

There are 5 Basic Sentence Patterns:
Subject + Verb
I swim. Joe swims. They swam.

Subject + Verb + Object
I drive a car. Joe plays the guitar. They ate dinner.

Subject + Verb + Complement
I am busy. Joe became a doctor. They look sick.

Subject + Verb + Indirect Object + Direct Object
I gave her a gift. She teaches us English.

Subject + Verb + Object + Complement
I left the door open. We elected him president. They named her Jane.

Practice these sentence patterns at this site:  Fun With Randomly Generated Sentences

Have fun with sentences- Mad Libs:  Wacky Web Tales

Here is a quiz to practice on your own:  Sentence Quiz

Web Resources
Random Sentence Generator
The "random sentence generator" is just one tool on the manythings.org site, which contains a myriad of student activities.
Mad-libs focus students' attention on specific parts of speech as they fill in their stories. The fun begins when they stretch their imaginations!

Practice Worksheets are at this site:  Making Sentences (http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/words/grammar/sentencebasics/whatisasentence/worksheet.shtml)

English Basics
Volume 4, Number 22, March 6, 2000
Real Sentences

Will the real sentence please stand up? How do you know that a group of words is really a sentence? A sentences expresses a complete thought.

Example: The girls wear pink hats.

This is a sentence. We know who the sentence is about and what they are doing.

Example: The girls who wear pink hats.

This is not a complete thought, so it is not a sentence. The phrase “who wear pink hats” only helps to identify who the words are about. When you read or hear, “The girls who wear pink hats,” it leaves you wondering, “What are those girls doing?” or, “What about those girls?”

Example: Are prettier than worms.

This is not a complete thought, so it is not a sentence. It leaves you asking, “Who or what are prettier than worms?”

This is a sentence:

They are prettier than worms.

Here’s another sentence:

The girls who wear pink hats are prettier than worms.

Write “S” after each sentence. Write “N” if the words do not make a real sentence. The first three have been done for you.

1. Carrots in the lunch box. N
2. Putting things back in the proper drawers. N
3. I saw carrots in the lunch box. S
4. Anthony’s favorite funny television show.
5. I forgot my coat.
6. When I’ll be able to drive a car?
7. Can you drive a car?
8. Paper plates that can be used in the microwave.
9. Veronica’s choice of words offended her dog.
10. Hearing voices that are not really there.
11. Chad works very hard.
12. Winning an important race.
13. Winning a race is fun.
14. Loves her friends no matter what.
15. Looking like he’d seen a ghost!
16. Things that creep in the shadows.
17. Never farther than a phone call.
18. Cookies that taste better than mud.
19. Apples can be added to the recipe.
20. Place your shoes on the blue mat.
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