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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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