A sentence is a group of words with one or more ‘clauses’. It begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop, a question mark or an exclamation mark. A sentence can be short or long. Understanding how a sentence works will help you to produce grammatically accurate writing. A sentence contains one or more clauses. It must have a main clause. In a longer sentence, each clause can be seen as a building block, adding to the overall meaning. A sentence that contains two or more clauses is called a complex sentence. Clauses are normally separated by commas. A sentence may consist of a main clause and one or more dependent clauses, such as a participle clause or a relative clause. The underlined parts of the sentences below are dependent clauses. They could not be presented separately as sentences as they do not make sense on their own. Clauses may follow one after the other: participle clause 1 Which of these is not a sentence, and why? a The education system in Britain has changed many times in the last hundred years. b Education, one of the biggest issues in British society for a very long time. c Critics considered the 11-plus exam to be an unfair way of deciding the futures of children. d Admissions policies vary from school to school.
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