Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Types of Sentence

There are two main types of sentences: regular and irregular. They can also be called: major and minor.

Major Sentences

These are sentences that can be broken down into a specific pattern of elements (clauses):

My son                       has dropped                        a vase                       on the floor
David                         painted                                his house                  today
I                                 threw                                   a ball                        at John

Simple Sentences

A one clause sentence is called a 'simple sentence'. For example:

John dropped a rock on his toe. 

Multiple Sentences

A sentence with more than one clause is called a 'multiple sentence'. For example.

John dropped a rock on his toe and Freddie dropped a rock on his toe.

Minor Sentences

Minor sentences are not constructed in a regular way. Unlike major sentences, they use abnormal patterns and cannot be organised into a series of clause elements. They often appear in every day conversation and when dialogue is written in fiction.


Formulae for stereotyped social situations:

Hello. How are you? Thanks. Cheers!

Emotional noises - Known as interjections:

Oi! Hey! Tut-tut. Shh! Ow!

Proverbs or pithy sayings - Known as aphorisms:

Easy come, easy go. Like father, like son.

Abbreviated forms:

Wish you were here. Mix well. One lap more:

Words and phrases that are used as exclamations, questions, or commands:

Nice day! Oh for a gin! Taxi? All aboard!


Minor sentences, unlike major sentences, have to be remembered and used at they are. In a major sentence you can change the tense:

John drops a rock on his foot.
John dropped a rock on his foot.

Minor sentences however, don't work in this way:

Wish you were here.
Wish you are here.


  1. love your title - what would Gandhi do? I just saw the film again.
    I don't think about the sentence, I just do it. If it looks and sounds right then that's it. Being a retired teacher and librarian has probably prepared me for writing. But grammar - I could never get a handle on it. So I'm an intuitive writer who's also an editor and proofreader.

    1. It must be nice to have it so learned that it's built in. I flunked out of school, so I'm having to work hard to build up my skills. This blog is more about me teaching myself about grammar. I figured that I'm going to write it down anyway, so I may as well use it to blog about.

      And thanks. I went to Gandhi's house for my 30th birthday a few years back. It was an amazing experience.