Online Tutor For English


Go back to Writing Lessons List



How to Write a Good Sentence

by Sue Gench

Show me complex sentences


Test your sentence against the criteria below:

A well-written complete sentence contains minimum one subject and one verb in order to have a meaning. We can write complete sentences in four different forms: the positive form, the negative form, the command form, or the question form. The sentences below are written in four different forms:

the positive form:
subject + verb + object. I swim in the pool.

the negative form: subject + negative helping verb + verb in base form + object.
I don't swim in the pool.

the command form: verb in in the base form + object. Swim in the pool.

the question form: helping verb + verb in the base form + object. Do you swim in the pool?

The sentence in the above example, (I swim in the pool), has a subject and verb and expresses a meaning in four different forms. We understand what it means in four different forms, and therefore this sentence is a complete sentence.

Another example:

Robert runs. (Robert is the subject. The positive form)

Robert doesn't run. (The negative form)

Does Robert run? (The question form)

Run. (The command form. The subject is hidden)

Make sure your sentences agree with the parts of speech and the subject aligns with the verb. See subject and verb agreement. The rule for parts of speech dictates that the subject, verb and object (predicate) of the sentence are chosen from their proper categories. For the subject, we use nouns and subject pronouns. For example, apple, pencil, pool, chair city, country, Robert, Tanya, London are all nouns so we can use them in the place of subject in a sentence. Or, we use subject pronouns for the place of subject in the sentence. The words, "I, you, he, she, it, we, they" represent the subject pronouns.

As for the verb, you must recognize them in order to be able to use them correctly. Verbs are those words that express physical or mental actions. For example, "walk" is a verb expressing an action of walking. The word "agree" is a mental action expressing the idea of agreement.

Robert runs every day. ('Run' is a verb. 'Run' expresses a physical action)

Children like candy. ('Like' is a verb. 'Like' expresses an act of feeling and therefore it is a mental action verb.)

As for the subject and verb agreement, the subject must align with the verb. Here is the rule: The subject of the sentence must agree with the verb tense form of the subject.

Correct: He plays the piano. (The subject, 'he', agrees with the verb form, 'plays'.)

Incorrect: He play the piano. ((The subject, 'he', doesn't agree with the verb form, 'play'.)

In these examples, the sentences are written in the simple present, using a third person single subject 'he'. Because verbs, in the simple present, with single subjects (he, she, it) take 's' or 'es' at the end of the verb, the verb 'play' becomes 'plays' with the single subject 'he'. In the above example, the single subject agrees with the verb form 'plays'../Grammar/verbs-02-04-2009.php">verbs.

Now, let's a make a complete sentence by choosing one word from the category of nouns and one word from the category of verbs. For example:

Susan reads novels. (Susan is the subject. The positive form)

Susan does not read novels. (The negative form)

Does Susan read novels? (The question form)

Read novels. (The command form. In the command form the subject is hidden.)

Finally, clarity is what makes a sentence intelligible. Without clarity, no matter how well the sentence is grammatically correct, the sentence may not be understood. Guidelines for clarity are:





© 2014 Copy Rights Reserved at Online Tutor For English

Add Link Online Resources

How to Write a Good Sentence

An Example of Four-Paragraph Essay

A Three-Paragraph Essay

How to Write a Good Paragraph

How to Write a Business Letter

Illustrations of a Well- Written Paragraph

Steps to Write a Three-Paragraph Essay

How to Write a Good Main Topic Sentence

How to Write Good Supporting Sentences

Recommendations for Writing a Good Paragraph

Writing Resources

Articles, a-an, the

Adjectives and Adverbs

Appositives in Complete Sentence

Complete Sentence

Complex Sentence



Parts of Speech

Passive Voice


Parallel Structure


Present Perfect Tense

Present Perfect Continuous Tense


Irregular Verbs

Advertise with us


Online Writing Tutorials 25 USD!

English Tutors Directory

English Tutor Plans

Spoken English Tutor, FAQ

English Writing Tutor, FAQ

Spoken English, Writing Program Online


English Grammar

English Conversation Lessons

English Writing Lessons

Business English

TOEFL Preparation

SAT English

Author Articles


We answer English Language Questions