Sentients and sentence are easily confused words.
The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.
Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.
Sentients (pronounced “sihn-tee-ihnts”) is the plural of the noun form of “sentient,” which means a creature with consciousness, a creature that has functioning senses and awareness of their surroundings.
Sentient as an adjective describes someone possessing consciousness, awareness, and functioning senses.
Sentence (pronounced “sihn-tense”) has multiple meanings.
- As a noun, in grammar, it means an expression of a complete thought or idea.
- As a noun, in the judicial system, it means a term of imprisonment.
The following story uses both words correctly:
“Hello. Can you speak your name for me?”
Her question was met with silence. The patient just lay there on the table, fresh from the scene of a motorcycle accident. Prompting a patient for basic information was a way to assess of they were sentients. if so, how much, upon their arrival to the emergency room.
“Do you know where you are?”
Her instructor chimed in.”He’s unresponsive to your sentence requests, Sierra, so what should we do?”
“We need to set up a breathing tube, glucose feed, and monitors for his pulse and other vitals.”
“Very good, he said, then looked around the patients’ bed. “Let’s do it, team. We don’t have a second to lose.” This year’s class of interns was showing a lot of promise in emergency situations.