Definition of sentence in US English:

sentence

noun

  • 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.

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

    ‘her husband is serving a three-year sentence for fraud’
    ‘slander of an official carried an eight-year prison sentence’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some of them have been tortured or given heavy prison sentences for this offence alone.’
    • ‘Soldiers who turn themselves in by February, 2004, earn lenient sentences.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘He received the maximum fine and was given a suspended two-year prison sentence.’
    • ‘He could have received a maximum jail sentence of 81 years for these crimes.’
    • ‘He was also handed a 10-year concurrent sentence for robbery.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The relatively lenient sentence has been widely interpreted as a blow to Southeast Asian efforts to combat terrorism.’
    • ‘The decision has opened the way for further reviews of sentences meted out to teenagers.’
    • ‘Some Australian states impose a mandatory minimum sentence for wilful murder.’
    • ‘He had also received separate suspended jail sentences for fraud offences.’
    • ‘He will be sentenced this week and faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.’
    • ‘He was ordered to complete a remaining eight month sentence for that offence before starting the latest jail term.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We accept that courts should consider each of these dimensions whenever a sentence for rape is imposed.’
    • ‘No Greek police officer has served a custodial sentence for crimes committed while serving.’
    • ‘A death sentence was commuted to life in prison, then cut to ten years.’
    judgement, ruling, pronouncement, decision, determination, decree
    prison term, prison sentence, jail sentence, penal sentence
    View synonyms

verb

[with object]
  • Declare the punishment decided for (an offender)

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

Phrases

  • under sentence of

    • Having been condemned to.

      ‘he was under sentence of death’
      • ‘They do not think it would be fair to deprive anyone presently under sentence of death of the benefit of the Roodal decision.’
      • ‘An Ethiopian woman remained under sentence of death.’
      • ‘Article 40.4.50 deals with the special situation of where a person under sentence of death applies to the High Court for an inquiry under Article 40.4 as to the legality of his or her detention.’
      • ‘Unlike so many Bresson characters, Fontaine is convinced that he has free will, even in the unlikely situation of prison, under sentence of death.’
      • ‘When the Ruling Council investigated the matter and discovered what was happening they sentenced the scientists to prison under sentence of death.’
      • ‘In York, the holder of the hangman's post was usually himself a convicted villain under sentence of death, who was pardoned on condition he accept the unsavoury job.’
      • ‘Three people were executed in 2000 and more than 100 prisoners remained under sentence of death at the end of the year, the report said.’
      • ‘At last he was recaptured for being at large in Britain while under sentence of transportation.’
      • ‘According to Amnesty International in 2004 across the USA, 59 prisoners were executed, and over 3,400 prisoners were under sentence of death.’
      • ‘The likely effect for someone under sentence of death is that he would go through periods of agony alternating with periods of hope.’

Origin

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’.

Pronunciation

sentence

/ˈsen(t)əns//ˈsɛn(t)əns/