I have a question.

The court sentences the accused 5 years for his committing the crime.

Is it in this sentence the structure is right. Subject (the court) , sentence is the verb, the accused is object.

Now, what about 5 years, is it noun?

What about for committing.......

Can the verb in the sentence be in the past?

2 Answers 2


Sentence here works like give, and you can in fact substitute give and not change the meaning too much.

The court sentences the accused 5 years for committing the crime

The court gives the accused 5 years for committing the crime

I'm mentioning give because give is a word that takes 2 objects, a direct and indirect one. Many other verbs when the meaning is similar or related to give also take 2 objects, and this is what "sentences" is doing.

So 5 years is the indirect object (what is being given/sentenced) and the accused is the direct object (the target of the giving/sentencing).

  • 6
    We usually say 'sentence to 5 years'. Dec 12, 2019 at 17:47
  • Thanks, what about for committing the crime? Is it object also? Can the sentence be in the past?
    – Sdg
    Dec 12, 2019 at 21:40

Idiomatically you should have

... sentences the accused to five years for ....

"years" is a noun, and the object of the preposition "to", forming a prepositional phrase with the numeral "five". "Five years" is an idiomatic shortening, meaning "a time in prison lasting five years".

Similarly "for committing..." is a prepositional phrase. It includes an -ing form of a verb (participle/gerund)

In the example, the verb is in the present tense. This is the "commentary" present tense. It is used for describing actions that take place as they are described (like a sports commentator describing a game). The verb could be in the past tense, if you were describing past actions. It is a regular verb.

Yesterday, the court sentenced the accused to five years.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .