Sentence. General characteristics. Classification of sentences


Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика

The sentence is a unit of predication which naming a certain situational event shows the relation of the denoted event towards reality. An important structural feature of the sentence is its entirety that is no word of the given sentence can be the head or a dependent element relative to words that stand outside this sentence.



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Sentence. General characteristics. Classification of sentences.

The sentence is a unit of predication which, naming a certain situational event, shows the relation of the denoted event towards reality. Predication establishes the relation of the named phenomena to actual life. An important structural feature of the sentence is its entirety, that is, no word of the given sentence can be the head or a dependent element relative to words that stand outside this sentence. So, the sentence can be defined as an immediate integral unit used in speech communication, built up of words according to a definite syntactic pattern and characterized by predication.

It possesses the following properties. 1. The sentence as a linguistic expression of extralinguistic reality must be actualized. Actualization of the sentence content makes predicativity an inseparable property of every sentence. 2. The sentence, just like any other meaningful language unit, has a form. Every sentence has an intonation pattern. 3. The sentence occupies the highest hierarchical position relative to other structural language units since the final purpose of all structural language units is to build sentences.

Sentences can be classified according to their structural, semantic and pragmatic properties.

One traditional scheme for classifying English sentences is by the number and types of finite clauses: sentences are divided into simple and composite, the latter consisting of two more clauses.

Simple sentences are usually classified into one-member and two-member. This distinction is based on a difference in the main parts of a sentence. One-member sentences do not contain two such separate parts; in these sentences there is only one main part. Nominal sentences name a person or thing. The main member in such sentences is expressed by a noun. The main member of infinitival sentences is expressed by an infinitive. One-member sentences should be kept apart from elliptical sentences. An elliptical sentence is a sentence with one or more of its parts left out, which can be unambiguously inferred from the context. The main sphere of elliptical sentences is dialogue.

A composite sentence is built up by two or more predicative lines. It can be defined as a structural and semantic unity of two or more syntactic constructions each having a predicative center of its own, built on the basis of a syntactic connection and used in speech communication as a unit of the same rank as the simple sentence.

A general classification of composite sentences can be based on the first two criteria – the type of syntactic connection and the rank of predicative constructions. Here compound and complex sentences are singled out. In the compound sentence predicative constructions of the high rank are connected by means of coordination while in the complex sentence – by means of subordination. According to the way in which parts of the composite sentence are joined together, two types can be singled out: 1) syndetic (by means of connectors); 2) asyndetic (without any connectors).


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