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


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.


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).

  • 7
    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

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