4 Main Types of Sentence Structures

4 Main Types of Sentence Structures

Super Pro Editor Asked on 09/04/2014 in English Grammar.
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THE 4 MAIN TYPES OF SENTENCES

Sentences can operate using the following classifications: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex.

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These types of sentences define how the clauses are formed, which types of clauses are used, and the type of conjunctions that the speaker should use, when forming the sentences.

Each clause in a sentence has either an INDEPENDENT, a DEPENDENT clause, or both.

Independent clause:
This clause has a subject and a verb. It is called ‘independent’, because it can stand alone and does not need another clause to support it. It makes perfect sense on its own. This is also known as a MAIN CLAUSE.

Dependent clause:
This is called ‘dependent’ because it cannot support itself, and needs to have an independent clause as part of the sentence to complete it. It would not make sense on its own. This is also known as a SUBORDINATE CLAUSE.

 

SIMPLE SENTENCE

This type contains only one independent clause, which has a subject and a verb. They are the most basic type of sentences. An independent clause is also a sentence that can remain a complete thought by itself, and typically only use coordinating conjunctions to connect the subject to the direct object.

  • I found a dollar on the street!
  • She loves to eat chocolate ice cream.
  • The teacher had a conversation with the student’s parents.
  • You are very good at singing!
  • He loves cats!

 

COMPOUND SENTENCE

These have two independent clauses that are connected with a coordinating conjunction. In these sentences, we have two complete thoughts that are joined with the following conjunctions (an easy way to remember these conjunctions is with this acronym ‘FANBOYS’. It represents the first letter of each conjunction!):- For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So.

  • I found a dollar on the street, so I went to the candy store.
  • She loves to eat chocolate ice cream, but it makes her tummy hurt.
  • The teacher had a conversation with the student’s parents, yet he didn’t improve his behaviour in class.
  • You are very good at singing, so you can join our band!
  • He loves cats but he hates dogs!

 

COMPLEX SENTENCE

These have a combination of an independent clause and a dependent one. A dependent clause needs to attach to an independent one because it is not a complete thought by itself; it simply expands on the complete thought by providing more information.

A speaker or writer can begin a complex sentence with a subordinating conjunction in order to make the first clause dependent, and then use an independent clause after that.

  • Because I found a dollar on the street, I went to the candy store.
  • Even though she loves to eat chocolate ice cream, it makes her tummy hurt.
  • Although the teacher had a conversation with the student’s parents, he didn’t improve his behaviour in class.
  • Since you are good at singing, you can join our band!
  • As much as he loves cats, he hates dogs!

 

COMPOUND-COMPLEX SENTENCE

As the name suggests, this type shares the characteristics of both compound and complex sentences. Compound-complex sentences are made from two independent (main) clauses and one or more dependent (subordinate) clauses. These are quite common in English, but you should try to master the first three types before you attempt to use this one!

  • Because I found a dollar on the street, I went to the candy store, and I bought a lollipop.
  • Even though she loves to eat chocolate ice cream, it makes her tummy hurt, and she feels unwell.
  • Although the teacher had a conversation with the student’s parents, he didn’t improve his behaviour in class, so she sent him to the headmistress.
  • Since you are good at singing, you can join our band, and be the lead singer!
  • I don’t understand why, but as much as he loves kittens, he hates dogs!

 

Read more:
List of Sentence Connectors in English with Examples!
Examples of Conjunction Words in a Sentence!
How can I improve my comprehension of sentence structure in English?

Super Pro Editor Answered on 10/04/2014.
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