Definition of sentence in English:



  • 1A set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate, conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command, and consisting of a main clause and sometimes one or more subordinate clauses.

    • ‘For example, it apparently tells you not to end sentences with prepositions.’
    • ‘Can I finish a sentence in this paragraph without using a question mark?’
    • ‘Words, phrases, sentences, and doctrinal teachings were subjected to close analysis and correct definitions and interpretations were recorded.’
    • ‘Start sentences with subjects and verbs, and let other words branch off to the right.’
    • ‘What I wanted to teach these people was not to decipher words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages or even pages into books.’
    • ‘Subjects select words to complete the sentences from a list provided.’
    • ‘You can almost feel her carefully constructed outline unfolding as you proceed through the words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages.’
    • ‘Traditional grammars say that sentences express complete thoughts.’
    • ‘Both the words and the ways they are combined into sentences convey meaning.’
    • ‘The first sentence of paragraph 40 is accordingly to be treated as an admission.’
    • ‘It's quite different from English, too, in that it puts the verb at the end of the sentence and uses postpositions instead of prepositions.’
    • ‘And in cases of that sort, everyone has always agreed that such words can end a sentence.’
    • ‘Then he has the nerve to put a exclamation mark after the sentence!’
    • ‘The key word in the last sentence is in quotation marks because, as Tolstoy made clear in War and Peace, there are as many truths about a given battle, after it, as there were participants in it.’
    • ‘The first two sentences of paragraph 100 would certainly have had to be revised.’
    • ‘But the sentences in question don't have to be long and cumbersome like the ones above.’
    • ‘A slight lift in the voice at the end of a sentence changes statement to question.’
    • ‘Well-made typefaces are designed with consistent spacing in mind: between letters, words, sentences, and lines.’
    • ‘I tried to talk but I couldn't quite concentrate on single words or forming complete sentences at the moment.’
    • ‘I was about to finish a sentence with a preposition there, something I never do.’
    1. 1.1Logic A series of signs or symbols expressing a proposition in an artificial or logical language.
      • ‘This distinction allows us to define a logical truth as a sentence that is true no matter what referring expressions occur in it.’
      • ‘A second effect of Goodman's discussion was to undermine the orthodox assumption that confirmation is an exclusively logical relation between sentences.’
      • ‘To say that a given sentence is logically possible is to say that there is a model that satisfies it.’
      • ‘Logical inferences are then defined as relations between propositions or sentences, abstracting from the mental attitudes that go along with them.’
      • ‘Since it does not succeed in expressing a proposition, the liar sentence is neither true nor false and the paradox is avoided.’
  • 2The punishment assigned to a defendant found guilty by a court, or fixed by law for a particular offence.

    ‘her husband is serving a three-year sentence for fraud’
    ‘slander of an official carried an eight-year prison sentence’
    ‘he was under sentence of death’
    • ‘He was also handed a 10-year concurrent sentence for robbery.’
    • ‘Some of them have been tortured or given heavy prison sentences for this offence alone.’
    • ‘He will be sentenced this week and faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.’
    • ‘He received the maximum fine and was given a suspended two-year prison sentence.’
    • ‘We accept that courts should consider each of these dimensions whenever a sentence for rape is imposed.’
    • ‘Once the prison sentence imposed by the court has been served, one cannot say that the sentencing court had it in mind that the offender should be detained unless it was shown that he was no longer a danger.’
    • ‘Some US states, such as Hawaii, have far more lenient laws than Texas in such cases and would allow treatment rather than a prison sentence or death penalty.’
    • ‘He had also received separate suspended jail sentences for fraud offences.’
    • ‘No Greek police officer has served a custodial sentence for crimes committed while serving.’
    • ‘The decision has opened the way for further reviews of sentences meted out to teenagers.’
    • ‘A death sentence was commuted to life in prison, then cut to ten years.’
    • ‘He was found guilty of nine counts of his indictment and sentenced to life imprisonment (his sentences, ranging from ten years to life run concurrently).’
    • ‘The magistrates decided against sending the boy to crown court for a harsher sentence.’
    • ‘But the Supreme Court sympathetically commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.’
    • ‘He was ordered to complete a remaining eight month sentence for that offence before starting the latest jail term.’
    • ‘The relatively lenient sentence has been widely interpreted as a blow to Southeast Asian efforts to combat terrorism.’
    • ‘Soldiers who turn themselves in by February, 2004, earn lenient sentences.’
    • ‘He could have received a maximum jail sentence of 81 years for these crimes.’
    • ‘Some Australian states impose a mandatory minimum sentence for wilful murder.’
    prison term, prison sentence, jail sentence, penal sentence
    judgement, ruling, pronouncement, decision, determination, decree
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  • Declare the punishment decided for (an offender)

    ‘ten army officers were sentenced to life imprisonment’
    • ‘He was subsequently sentenced to a total of 8 years' imprisonment.’
    • ‘Many were tortured and eventually sentenced to prison, although little credible evidence was presented against them.’
    • ‘Having been found guilty, all three were each sentenced yesterday to one year imprisonment.’
    • ‘He also undertook to give evidence for the Crown and was sentenced on that basis.’
    • ‘Second, the judge must have already decided to sentence the offender to a prison term of less than two years duration.’
    • ‘All the 78 defendants were sentenced for the offences they were charged with.’
    • ‘He was also sentenced to 10 years probation, counseling and 1,000 hours of community service.’
    • ‘He was released on unconditional bail and will be sentenced at a later date.’
    • ‘I applaud those judges who are sentencing those offenders to prison.’
    • ‘The eight accused were sentenced to jail terms ranging from six weeks to 34 months.’
    • ‘Four co-defendants were also sentenced to prison during the retrial.’
    • ‘He was subsequently charged and sentenced in absentia to 22 years in prison for embezzlement.’
    • ‘You have to sentence on the basis of the indictment.’
    • ‘A dozen men were convicted and sentenced to long prison terms.’
    • ‘She was convicted of murdering them and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.’
    • ‘Currently between 150 and 250 people are sentenced to prison every week.’
    • ‘The learned judge had just decided he hadn't used the right phrases when sentencing the last defendant.’
    • ‘He was therefore sentenced to a total of three years and six months' imprisonment.’
    • ‘A devoted father is to be sentenced by magistrates next month.’
    • ‘Third offenders were normally sentenced to serve a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail.’
    pass judgement on, impose a sentence on, pronounce sentence on, mete out punishment to, punish, convict
    condemn, doom
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Middle English (in the senses ‘way of thinking, opinion’, ‘court's declaration of punishment’, and ‘gist (of a piece of writing’)): via Old French from Latin sententia opinion, from sentire feel, be of the opinion.