• Depending on the number and types of clauses
they contain, sentences are classified as simple,
compound, complex or compound-complex.
• REMEMBER: Clauses come in two varieties:
independent and subordinate. An independent
clause has a subject, verb and expresses a
complete thought. It could be its own sentence.
• A subordinate clause has a subject and a verb,
but it does not express a complete thought and is
therefore dependent on (or subordinate to) the
Simple Sentences Part I
• A simple sentence is one independent clause with
no subordinate clauses.
• Alisa made a Powerpoint presentation.
• Without a passport, Eva could not visit her
parents in Lima.
• “Without a passport” is a prepositional phrase
modifying the proper noun Eva. It is not a
subordinate clause because it has neither subject
Simple Sentences Part II
• A simple sentence may contain compound
elements – a compound subject, verb, or
object, for example. The following sentence is
simple because its two verbs (comes in and
goes out) share a subject (Spring).
• Spring comes in and goes out like a lion.
• A compound sentence is composed of two or
more independent clauses with no
subordinate clauses. The independent clauses
are joined by a comma and a FANBOYS or a
• The car broke down, but a rescue van arrived
• A shark was spotted near shore; people left
• A complex sentence is composed of one
independent clause with one or more
• If you leave late, take a cab home.
• Spoiler alert: Alisa doesn’t like the second
example on p. 379. Ignore it.
• A compound complex sentence contains at least
two independent clauses and at least one
subordinate clause. The following sentence
contains two independent clauses, each of which
contains a subordinate clause.
• Tell the doctor how you feel, and she will decide
whether you can go home.
• Spoiler alert: subordinate clauses can appear next
to and even within an independent clause
without a comma to separate them.
• Read the first paragraph of Anxiety. Identify
each sentence as Simple, Compound,
Complex, or Compound-Complex.
• You can work alone or with a partner.
• Spoiler alert: the first sentence is sneaky.
• 1) Simple. Surprised? The first part is a
prepositional phrase modifying the noun (and
subject) “chance.” There is a compound verb
(“came up” and “to spend”) but it shares a
subject “chance.” We have a verbal “working”
and an adverbial phrase “on a ranch in
• There are lots of compound elements in this
sentence, but it still has only one independent
clause and no subordinate clauses.
• 2) Compound Sentence = two independent
clauses, in this case joined with a comma and
• My roommate’s father was in the cattle
business, and he wanted Ted to see something
• 3) Compound-complex= at least two
independent clauses and at least one
• Ted said he would go if he could take a friend,
and he chose me.
In your groups, discuss the following
• What is one key thing you annotated and
why? What does your annotation say about
your sensibilities as a person/reader/writer?
• What particular insight did you feel Collier
provided about life and/or writing?
• What function do paragraphs 17-19 serve in