Sentence Types

English sentence structure includes three basic types of
sentences: simple, compound, and complex. These types
indicate how the information in the sentence is organized, not
the content of the sentence. The grammatical term for a
sentence is an independent clause.
1. Simple sentences usually contain one subject and
one erb.
S !
"ids loe teleision
#oes this sound li$e a normal routine%
&. Sometimes simple sentences can contain more than one subject or
s s
'razil and the (nted States are large countries.
'razil lies in South )merica and has a large population.
They were raised as Soiets,

and were taught to beliee that they were citizens
of the great superpower.
*ompound Sentences
*ompound sentences are usually made up of two simple
sentences +or independent clauses,. *ompound sentences need a
coordinating conjunction +connector, to combine the two sentences.
The most common coordinating conjunctions are +-).'/0S,:
for and nor but or yet so
1emember that a comma is always used before the
coordinating conjunction to separate the two independent
s s
for 2eagan studied hard, for she wanted to pass the test.
s s
and 2eagan studied hard, and her classmates studied, too.
s s
nor 2eagan didn3t study hard, nor did she pass the test.
s s
but 2eagan studied hard, but her brother didn3t study at
s s
or 2eagan studied hard, or she would hae failed the
s s
yet 2eagan studied hard, yet she wasn3t happy with her
s s
so 2eagan studied hard, so the test was easy for her.
4ractice 1
Study the following examples of compound sentences from the essays in
this boo$. #raw a box around each subject, underline each erb, and
circle each coordinating conjunction.
1. 'razil was colonized by Europeans, and its culture has been
greatly in5uenced by this fact.
2. This was my 6rst isit to the international section of the
airport, and nothing was familiar.
3. 2any people today are oerweight, and being oerweight
has been connected to some $inds of cancer.
4. 7alls fell, mar$ets opened, and people rejoiced in the
streets, anticipating a life full of opportunities and freedom
to ma$e their own choices.
5. Should public school students be allowed to ma$e
indiidual decisions about clothing, or should all
students be re8uired to wear a uniform%
6. The (nited States has one of the largest militaries in the
world, so )mericans are no longer called upon to use
their own weapons in the military.
9i$e compound sentences, complex sentences are made up
two parts. *omplex sentences, howeer, contain one
independent clause and +at least, one dependent clause. The
most common type of complex sentence uses aderb clauses.:
Study the examples below.
*omplex Sentences +with )derb clauses,:
The hurricane struc$ while we were at the mall.
)fter the president gae his speech, he answered
most of the reporter3s 8uestions.
)derb clauses contain subordinating conjuctions such as:
while although after because if
These subordinating conjunctions are actually part of half of a
complex sentence.
;oe played tennis < after !ic$y watched T!.
:The other two types of complex sentences use
adjectie and noun clauses.
*omplex Sentences +with )djectie clauses,:
) girl whom = $now was recently accepted to >ared
The Ei?el Tower, which is located in 4aris, is isited
by millions of tourists annually.
*omplex Sentences +with .oun clauses,@
7hat you need to do is buy a new computer.
The students wanted to $now when their teacher would
The word after is not a part by itself between the two sentences
as a coordinating conjunction is in a compound sentence. =nstead,
the subordinating conjunction belongs grammatically to Vicky
watched TV.
1emember that sentences beginning with these subordinating
conjunctions are dependent. They must be attached to an
independent clause. They cannot stand alone as a sentence. =f
they are not attached to another sentence, they are called
fragments, or incomplete sentences. -ragments are incomplete
ideas, and they cause confusion for the reader. =n a complex
sentence, both clauses are needed to ma$e a complete idea so
the reader can understand what you mean. 9oo$ at these
-ragment )fter !ic$y watched T!
*omplete sentence ;oe played tennis after !ic$y watched
*omplete sentence )fter !ic$y watched T!, she went to bed.
.ote: =n compound sentences, you must put a comma at the
end of the 6rst clause.
*omplex sentences, howeer, do not need a comma if the
conjunction is part of the second sentence. Study these
Taiwanese culture puts a strong emphasis on uniersity
because getting into the right uniersity can guarantee future
s s
= watched in despair as the eleator doors closed.
=f the same amount of attention were gien to proper diets,
exercise, and sunscreens, perhaps the number of oerall

cases would be reduced.
4ractice &
Study the following examples of complex sentences from the essays in
this boo$. #raw a box around each subject, underline each erb, and
circle each subordinating conjunction.
1. 7hile the .ortheast is experiencing snowstorms, cities li$e
2iami, -lorida, can hae temperatures oer AB degrees
2. )lthough 'razil and the (nited States are uni8ue countries,
there are remar$able similarities in their size, ethnic groups,
and personal alues.
3. Taiwanese culture puts a strong emphasis on uniersity
admission because getting into the right uniersity can
guarantee future success.
4. =f we type a grammatically incorrect sentence, one of these
programs highlights the incorrect parts of the sentence and
corrects them.
5. 'ecause almost eery area has a community college,
students who opt to go to a community college can continue
to be near their families for two more years.

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