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I believe, "expression" is a good term for a word or a meaningful part of a sentence, which is shorter than the sentence, but "expression" does not sound a good term to refer to a sentence. Is there a term which would be appropriate for all these cases?

Is it acceptable to use the term "object of language" to refer to anything used in a discourse?

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    "Expression" includes "sentence". On the other hand, I don't think there is a short word for "non-sentential expression". – lemontree Jan 25 at 20:44
  • Phrase? Clause? All sentences are phrases of some sort. – curiousdannii Jan 25 at 23:33
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    All sentences are clauses of some sort. All clauses are composed of phrases, and sometimes can be used as phrases in other clauses. But that's all language constituents. String refers to a sequence of ... anything -- a string of words, letters, phonemes, morphemes, whatever, as long as they're in sequence. Mostly strings don't make sense, though parts of them might. Expressions are structured, strings aren't (except for order); expressions have meaning, but strings don't. Probably the word you're looking for is Constituent, which includes sentences and everything else useful. – jlawler Jan 26 at 18:54

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