Classification of Sentences

Rem.—Some sentences assert the being, condition, or state, of a person or thing—or an action which does not terminate on an object. Others assert an ction which terminates on an object.

Some sentences assert but one fact; others, more. Some assert an independent, or a principal proposition; others, a secondary, or qualifying proposition. Hence,

Prin. Sentences are distinguished as—

Intransitive or Transitive,
Simple or Compound,
Principal or Auxiliary.

Def. 27. An Intransitive Sentence asserts being, condition, or state—or an act which does not terminate on an object.

EXAMPLES—I am—William sleeps—James is weary—Animals run—Cora sings sweetly—God is Love.

OBS.—An Intransitive Sentence contains one or more subjects and predicates, but no object.

Def. 28. A Transitive Sentence asserts an act which terminates on an object.

EXAMPLES—Birds built nests—Bring flowers—John and Dennis saw wood—Jane studies Grammar and Botany—“The king of shadows loves a shining mark.”

OBS.—1A Transitive Sentence has at least one subject, one predicate, and one object.

Def. 29. A Simple Sentence asserts but one proposition.

OBS.—It asserts but one fact concerning one person or thing. Hence, it contains but one subject, and one predicate, and (if transitive) one object.

EXAMPLES—Birds fly—John is studious—Resources are developed.

NOTE.—Two or more simple sentences, distinct in grammatical construction, may have a logical connection. Such a collection of sentences is properly called a Period.

“Wheat grows in the field—and men reap it.”

“A friend exaggerates a man's virtues—an enemy his crimes.”

Def. 30. A Compound Sentence asserts two or more propositions.

OBS.—It asserts two or more facts concerning one or more persons or things.

As, Henry studies and recites grammar.

Or it asserts one or more facts concerning two or more persons or things.

As, Homer and Henry study grammar.

Or it asserts one act of one person or thing which terminates on two or more objects.

As, Henry studies grammar and arithmetic.

Hence, a compound sentence contains two or more subjects, or predicates or objects.

DEF. 30, a.—The parts of a compound sentence are called clauses.

OBS.—The compound clauses may be—


Diagram 6 1. The subjects—As, Homer and Henry study grammar.
2. The predicates—Henry studies and recites grammar.
3. The objects—Henry studies grammar and arithmetic.

Rem.—Sentences which have compound predicates, often have objects applicable to only a part of them. Hence,

DEF. 30, b.—A compound sentence having one or more transitive. and one or more intransitive clauses, is a Mixed Sentence.


Diagram 7 EXAMPLES—Time slept on flowers, and lent his glass to Hope.
The stars will then lift up their heads and rejoice.

NOTE.—A compound sentence is not “a union of two or more simple sentences.” “Wheat grows in the field, and men reap it.” Here are two simple sentences independent of each other, so far as the grammatical construction of them is concerned. The latter sentence is simply added to the former—and its proximity alone determines the word for which the word “it” is substituted.

Nor is a compound sentence always “made up of parts of two or more simple sentences.” Oxygen and Hydrogen form water. We may not say—Oxygen forms water and Hydrogen forms water; but as the two things,Oxygen and Hydrogen, must be joined chemically before they can form water, so the two words, “Oxygen” and “Hydrogen,” must be joined in construction, before the “subject of the sentence” is complete.

A compound sentence has at least one member of one of the principal parts common to two or more members of another of the principal parts.

[See Examples above.]

Def. 31. A Principal Sentence asserts an independent or principal proposition: as,


Diagram 8 A mortal disease was upon her vitals.”

Def. 32. An Auxiliary Sentence expresses a qualifying assertion: as,


Diagram 9 “A mortal disease was upon her vitals, before Caesar had passed the Rubicon.”

NOTE.—An auxiliary sentence is an adjunct of a sentence phrase, or word, going before in construction; or it is used as a substitute for a noun. Hence,

Prin. Auxiliary sentences are distinguished as Substantive, Adjective, and Adverbial.

DEF. 32, a.—A Substantive Sentence is used as the subject of object of a verb: as,


Diagram 10 That good men sometimes commit faults can not be denied.”
“Much learning shows how little mortals know.”

NOTE.—A sentence is sometimes used independently in construction, although explanatory of another: as,

“It echoed his text, Take heed how ye hear.”

DEF. 32, b.—An Adjective Sentence is used to qualify a noun or pronoun: as,


Diagram 11 “He that getteth, wisdom, loveth his own soul”

DEF. 32, c.—An Adverbial Sentence is used to modify the signification of a Verb, Adjective, or Adverb: as,

Diagram 12 “Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails.”

Def. 33. A principal sentence, with its auxiliary sentences, constitutes a Complex sentence.

“He hears the thunder ere the tempest lowers.”

[See Examples attached to Diagrams 9, 10, 11, and 12.]