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I want to talk about English grammar in technical terms. Example, I might want to discuss 文型:

Every English sentence must have a main verb.

I would say:

英文{えいぶん}では、文章{ぶんしょう}にいつも本動詞{ほんどうし}がついている。

To me, saying 文章 in that context sounds good, but the meaning is a little weird. I think of 文章 as really meaning "document(s)".

How should one say "a sentence" in the context of a technical discussion about English sentence structures.

Note. My dictionary defines 一文 as "a sentence", yet I've never heard a native say いちぶん. Though, my listening skills are not the best...

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  • In case you're interested... sentence [en] = phrase [fr] = oración [es] = 文 [ja] = 句(子) [zh] = 문장(文章) [ko] Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 19:38

2 Answers 2

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As you have correctly guessed, 文章 refers to a group of sentences/paragraphs.

To refer to a single sentence, simply use , which is perfectly fine as a technical term, too.

一文 means "one sentence". It's used when one needs to emphasize "one".

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In such cases, katakana センテンス is better, like 「英語のセンテンスには必ず本動詞がある。」, because 文 is ambiguous and can mean "a sentence" or "writings(文章)". Any good Japanese dictionary must have センテンス as an entry.

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