English Grammar & Composition

The Sentence | English Grammar and Composition

A SENTENCE is a complete though expressed in words. The same thought may be expressed in many different ways. It may be. Simple statement or a statement enlarged with several clauses, and phrases. The essentials of a good sentence are (1) Unity (ll) Coherence md (III) Emphasis. . ‘


  1. Unity. ‘

The intention in dividing apiece of composition into sentences is to make it easier to comprehend. In order to achieve this end, no sentence should be over-crowded. Two general rules can be laid down for preserving unity: (1) Nothing should be inserted that is likely to distract attention from the main idea of the sentence (2) Where the sentence contains more than one idea, the ideas should have an intimate connection with one another. In other words, every sentence should have one principal-theme and this theme should be broadly stated with as little qualification as possible. The length or shortness of a sentence does not ensure or impair unity. It is the introduction of an incongruous idea that destroys unity, as it is the subordination of different ideas to the central thought that preserves it. Just as in any one paragraph there should be only one theme, so in any one sentence, threshold be only one central , thought. Subordinate clauses and phrases may be added to make the meaning clear, but anything not pertaining to the main thought should be reserved for a new sentence. Amongst other rules for preserving the unity of a sentence, Dr. Blair gives the following: “Never crowd into one sentence things which have so little connection with one another that they could bear to be divided into two or three sentences”. If in writing one thought, a second idea strikes your mind, do not be betrayed into the belief that it must be connected with the host and the two logically disconnected ideas should, therefore, be incorporated into one sentence. The following are instances of breach of unity?


1 Rahim Bakhas  was a loving brother and he owned many mills at Lyallpur.

2 The peasants wear curiously-shaped flat caps, and grow ‘huge crops  of buck-wheat.

3  Born  in 1887, Hitler became the idol of people in Germany.

4  Many peasants are illiterate in the Punjab and many of them  die of cholera every  year,

In all these sentences, the principal  of unity has been violated because the writer  does not stick to the main  idea. In the first sentence.

We read that Rahim Bakhsh was a loving brother and he  owned  mills at Lyallpur. Now the fact of his owning many mills has nothing to do with the fact of his being a loving brother. in the second sentence again both the ideas are totally ,. In the fourth Sentence, the  two statements that have been made are independent of each other. The question has often been asked whether a Parenthesis constitutes a violation of the rule of unity. It does not if it is short and relevant. A sparing use of parentheses is not to be condemned. But many writers abuse this device to an intolerable extent. This Is the case with even such a recognized master of English prose as de    Ouincey. In his very essay on ‘Style’, he indulges in parenthetical style to such an unnatural extent that he distracts the reader from the main current of his thought. It is for this reason that some authorities on composition say: “Beware of parentheses’. The principal of unity is well exemplified in the following:

1   The death of Nelson was felt in England as something more than a public calamity, men started at the intelligence and turned pate, as if they had heard of the loss of a dear friend“.

2  ”The crowd was led by four of the fiercest of the Mahdi followers-tall and swarthy Dervishes splendid in their many- coloured jibbehs, their great swords drawn from their scabbards of brass  and velvet, and their spears, flourishing above their heads“.

  1. coherence

The second characteristic of a good sentence is Coherence. By Coherence, ‘we mean that the components of a sentence are arranged in logical order. Lack of coherence means lack of clearness. Whatever other qualities a good sentence may poses. it is a bad sentence if it is not coherent. Consider the following:’

”Lost a cane by a gentleman ‘with a curved head”.


The sentence as it stands is ridiculous because it suggests that the gentleman who lost a cane had a carved head whale the writer‘s am is to convey the idea that the cane which the gentleman had lost had a carved head. Therefore, the correct form should her  ‘Lout by a gentleman, a cane with a curved head“.

Consider the following sentences:


He gave the stool to the servant that had a broken leg. He gave to the servant the stool that had a broken leg. It is quite dear that the question whether the man or the stool had a broken leg depend  upon the position on‘ the clause  ”that had a Broken leg.

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