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Types of Types of Sentences Sentences

University Learning Center AC I 160 / PC 247 Florida International University

Developed by Jasveen Bhasin English Writing Tutor

The Simple Sentence


A simple sentence has the following structure: Subject + Verb = 1 Independent Clause = Simple Sentence In other words, a simple sentence consists of 1 independent clause, which contains one subject and at least one verb.

Simple Sentence Example


Marina travels to Amsterdam every year in the summer time.

This is a simple sentence. It contains one subject Mariana and one verb travels.

Complicated but Still Simple

A sentence is not necessarily simple because it has a simple structure. Some sentences may have a long and confusing structure but can still be simple because they contain one subject and verb. A dependent clause may also contain a subject and verb, but a simple sentence only consists of one independent clause.

A compound sentence has the following structure:


Independent Clause + Coordinating Conjunction + Independent Clause = Compound Sentence In other words, a compound sentence has 2 or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). A compound sentence may even have a semi-colon (;), a colon (:) or a dash (--) instead of a coordinating conjunction.

The Compound Sentence

Compound Example
Martin wanted to go fishing, but Alice wanted to go skiing.

This is a compound sentence. It contains two independent clauses (Martin wanted to go fishing and Alice wanted to go skiing), which are joined by a coordinating conjunction (but).

The Complex Sentence


Complex sentences have a different structure from simple and compound sentences: Independent Clause + Dependent Clause or Dependent Clause + Comma + Independent Clause = Complex Sentence A complex sentence contains 1 independent clause and 1 or more dependent clauses. If a dependent clause begins the sentence, there normally is a comma (,) after it. If an independent clause begins a complex sentence there should not be a comma after it.

Complex Example
Although she worked hard to gain recognition, many people did not know who she was.
Although she worked hard to gain recognition is a dependent clause because it begins with the subordinating conjunction although. Many people did not know who she was would be an independent clause, therefore making the sentence a complex sentence.

The Compound-Complex Sentence


The compound-complex sentence has the following structure: Independent clause + coordinating conjunction + independent clause + dependent clause = compound-complex sentence It does not have to be in that order. A dependent clause can stand in between two independent clauses. The rule is there should be at least two independent and at least one dependent clause in a compound-complex sentence.

Compound-Complex Example
Although she worked hard to gain recognition, many people did not know who she was, and her friends did not even appreciate her work.

Here, we added an extra clause to the complex sentence we used earlier her friends did not even appreciate her work. Adding this independent clause with the coordinating conjunction and makes this a compound-complex sentence.

Lets try an exercise


Identify the following types of sentences:
Living in Spain was one of the best experiences that

Carol had during college. Although the volcano erupted long ago, the collapsed mountaintop formed a lake bed that is still hot. I have always looked forward to my summer vacations. Noorie plays basketball on Saturdays, and she goes fishing on Sundays.

Answers
Living in Spain was one of the best experiences that Carol had during college.

This is a complex sentence: Living in Spain was one of the best experiences = independent clause That Carol had during college = dependent

Although the volcano erupted long ago, the collapsed mountaintop formed a lake bed that is still hot.

Complex sentence: Although the volcano erupted long ago = dependent clause The collapsed mountaintop formed a lake bed = independent clause. That is still hot = dependent clause.

I have always looked forward to my summer vacations.

Simple Sentence: I have always looked forward to my summer vacations = independent clause.

Noorie plays basketball on Saturdays, and she goes fishing on Sundays.

Compound sentence: Noorie plays basketball on Saturdays = independent clause. And = coordinating conjunction She goes fishing on Sundays = independent

The Run-On Sentence


A run-on sentence is not necessarily a very long sentence, so long that it seems grammatically incorrect. You can have a very short run-on sentence. A run-on sentence is a compound or compoundcomplex sentence that is not properly connected. In other words, it occurs when there is no coordinating conjunction or semi-colon/colon/dash connecting the independent clauses or when the connecting elements are in the wrong part of the sentence.

Example
I didnt go to class today, I was feeling ill. In the above example, the comma (,) is too weak to connect the two independent clauses. This is called a comma splice, a type of run-on sentence. To correct this sentence, you would either replace the comma with a semi-colon or make the second clause dependent by adding the subordinating conjunction because -- I didnt go to class today because I was feeling ill.

Another Example
I need a break I need a long vacation. This is also a run-on sentence. In this example, there is nothing connecting the two independent clauses, no punctuation (not even a comma) or coordinating conjunction. This is called a fused sentence, another type of run-on sentence. You can fix this by placing a semi-colon between the clauses or forming two separate sentences by inserting a period instead.

The Sentence Fragment


A sentence fragment consists of one or all of the following: Dependent clause Phrase Word In other words, if the sentence does not contain at least one independent clause, it is a fragment.

Fragment Examples
Because I was quite happy. This is a fragment: It has only one dependent clause. The boy with the round face. This is also a fragment: It consists of only a phrase(s). Time. This sentence contains only a word, therefore making it a sentence fragment.

Identify the following as sentence fragments or run-ons:

Lets try another exercise

Walking in the park when I was a kid. I love work, I love school, I love people, I love life! I just didnt want to go to the party I knew better than to go on a school night. Okay! She went to the mall, and he went to the movies, we workaholics went to work.

Answers
Walking in the park when I was a kid. Sentence Fragment: It consists of a participle phrase and a dependent clause. There is no independent clause. I love work, I love school, I love people, I love life! Run-on sentence: It contains three independent clauses that are connected only by commas, which are too weak to join independent clauses to one another.

I just didnt want to go to the party I knew better than to go on a school night. Run-on sentence: Two independent clauses connected by nothing. Okay! Sentence fragment: It only contains one word and has no independent clause. She went to the mall, and he went to the movies, we workaholics went to work. Run-on sentence: While the first two independent clauses are properly connected, the last one is dangling at the end. The and should connect the last two independent

Well done!
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Examples borrowed from: Troyka, Lynn Quitman. Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1999.