IntroductionWhy is it important to know whether a sentence issimple, compound, or complex? I believe a writer must know how to define simple, compound, and complex sentences before using them consciously. To me, thats so obvious it hardly needs stating. Once a writer knows how to write a simple sentence, it is possible to apply strict mechanical "rules" for writing both compound and complex sentences. And with just these three sentence types, it is possible to write good essays, with good sentence variety, perfectly acceptable for academic work. The explanations are followed by "sentence identification" quizzes.
Sentences: Simple, Compound, and ComplexExperienced writers use a variety of sentences to make theirwriting interesting and lively. Too many simple sentences, forexample, will sound choppy and immature while too manylong sentences will be difficult to read and hard tounderstand.This PowerPoint presentation contains definitions of simple,compound, and complex sentences with many simpleexamples. The purpose of these examples is to help theESL/EFL learner to identify sentence basics includingidentification of sentences in the short quizzes thatfollow. After that, it will be possible to analyze more complexsentences varieties.
Beginning Sentences with "And" or "Because"Should you begin a sentence with "and" or "but" (or one ofthe other coordinating conjunctions)? The short answer is "no." You should avoid beginning a sentence with "and," "or," "but," or the other coordinating conjunctions. These words generally are used to join together parts of a sentence, not to begin a new sentence. However, such sentences can be used effectively. Because sentences beginning with these words stand out, they are sometimes used for emphasis. If you use sentences beginning with one of the coordinating conjunctions, you should use these sentences sparingly and carefully.
Should you begin a sentence with "because"?There is nothing wrong with beginning a sentence with "because." Perhaps some students are told not to begin a sentence with "because" to avoid sentence fragments (something like "Because Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon" is a sentence fragment), but it is perfectly acceptable to begin a sentence with "because" as long as the sentence is complete (as in "Because Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon, I did not see them at the station.")
SIMPLE SENTENCEA simple sentence, also called an independent clause, contains a subject and averb, and it expresses a complete thought. In the following simple sentences,subjects are in yellow, and verbs are in green. A. Some students like to study in the mornings. B. Juan and Arturo play football every afternoon. C. Alicia goes to the library and studies every day. The three examples above are all simple sentences. Note that sentence B contains a compound subject, and sentence C contains a compound verb. Simple sentences, therefore, contain a subject and verb and express a complete thought, but they can also contain a compound subjects or verbs.
More examples: She went to the store. (subject = she / verb = went) However, some people choose not to use a subject, as in this example: Question: Where did she go? Answer: Went to the store. "Went to the store," is not good English. If you want your English to improve, avoid making this kind of mistake. Always try to use a subject and a verb when making a sentence. Remember: Starting with simple sentences in this level, we will study sentence structure and if you go through all of the lessons in order, hopefully, your writing and speaking will get better.
Still More Examples of Simple Sentences:1. Joe waited for the train. "Joe" = subject, "waited" = verb2. The train was late. "The train" = subject, "was" = verb3. Mary and Samantha took the bus. "Mary and Samantha" = compound subject, "took" = verb4. I looked for Mary and Samantha at the bus station. "I" = subject, "looked" = verb5. Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon and left on thebus before I arrived."Mary and Samantha" = compound subject, "arrived" and "left" = compoundverb
If you use many simple sentences in an essay, you should TIP: consider revising some of the sentences into compound or complex sentences.The use of compound subjects, compound verbs, prepositional phrases(such as "at the bus station"), and other elements help lengthen simplesentences, but simple sentences often are short. The use of too manysimple sentences can make writing "choppy" and can prevent the writingfrom flowing smoothly.A simple sentence can also be referred to as an independent clause. Itis referred to as "independent" because, while it might be part of acompound or complex sentence, it can also stand by itself as acomplete sentence.
COMPOUND SENTENCEA compound sentence contains two independent clauses joined by acoordinator. The coordinators are as follows: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.(Helpful hint: The first letter of each of the coordinators spells FANBOYS.) For And Nor But Or Yet SoExcept for very short sentences, coordinators are always preceded by a comma.In the following compound sentences, subjects are in yellow, verbs are ingreen, and the coordinators and the commas that precede them are in red. A. I tried to speak Spanish, and my friend tried to speak English. B. Alejandro played football, so Maria went shopping. C. Alejandro played football, for Maria went shopping.
More Examples of Compound Sentences 1. Joe waited for the train, but the train was late. 2. I looked for Mary and Samantha at the bus station, but they arrived at the station before noon and left on the bus before I arrived. 3. Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon, and they left on the bus before I arrived. 4. Mary and Samantha left on the bus before I arrived, so I did not see them at the bus station. If you rely heavily on compound sentences in anTIP: essay, you should consider revising some of them into complex sentences.
Coordinating conjunctions are useful for connectingsentences, but compound sentences often are overused.While coordinating conjunctions can indicate some type ofrelationship between the two independent clauses in thesentence, they sometimes do not indicate much of arelationship. The word "and," for example, only adds oneindependent clause to another, without indicating how thetwo parts of a sentence are logically related. Too manycompound sentences that use "and" can weaken writing.Clearer and more specific relationships can beestablished through the use of complex sentences.
Still Some More Examples: 1. John bought some new shoes, and he wore them to a party. 2. Lydia liked her new house, but she didnt like the front yard. 3. We can go see a movie, or we can get something to eat.Notice that in each example, there is a subject and a verb in eachindependent clause. These sentences can be changed by removing thesubject: 1. John bought some new shoes and wore them to a party. 2. Lydia liked her new house but not the front yard. 3. We can go see a movie or get something to eat. These are still good sentences, but by removing the subject from one part of them, they are no longer compound sentences. They are now simple sentences with compound subjects.
COMPLEX SENTENCE A complex sentence has an independent clause joined by one or more dependent clauses. A complex sentence always has a subordinator such as because, since, after, although, or when or a relative pronoun such as that, who, or which. In the following complex sentences, subjects are in yellow, verbs are in green, and the subordinators and their commas (when required) are in red.A. When he handed in his homework, he forgot to give the teacher thelast page.B. The teacher returned the homework after she noticed the error.C. The students are studying because they have a test tomorrow.D. After they finished studying, Juan and Maria went to the movies.E. Juan and Maria went to the movies after they finished studying.
When a complex sentence begins with a subordinator such assentences A and D, a comma is required at the end of the dependentclause. When the independent clause begins the sentence withsubordinators in the middle as in sentences B, C, and E, no comma isrequired. If a comma is placed before the subordinators in sentencesB, C, and E, it is wrong.Note that sentences D and E are the same except sentence Dbegins with the dependent clause which is followed by a comma,and sentence E begins with the independent clause which containsno comma. The comma after the dependent clause in sentence Dis required, and experienced listeners of English will often hear aslight pause there. In sentence E, however, there will be no pausewhen the independent clause begins the sentence.A complex sentence is made up of an independent clause and oneor more dependent clauses connected to it. A dependent clause issimilar to an independent clause, or complete sentence, but it lacksone of the elements that would make it a complete sentence.
Examples of dependent clauses include the following: because Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon while he waited at the train station after they left on the busDependent clauses such as those above cannot stand alone as a sentence,but they can be added to an independent clause to form a complexsentence.Dependent clauses begin with subordinating conjunctions. See the list here.
A complex sentence joins an independent clause with one or more dependent clauses. The dependent clauses can go first in the sentence, followed by the independent clause, as in the following: When the dependent clause comes first, a commaTIP: should be used to separate the two clauses.1. Because Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon, I did not see them at the station.2. While he waited at the train station, Joe realized that the train was late.3. After they left on the bus, Mary and Samantha realized that Joe waswaiting at the train station.
Conversely, the independent clauses can go first in the sentence,followed by the dependent clause, as in the following: When the independent clause comes first, a commaTIP: should not be used to separate the two clauses.1. I did not see them at the station because Mary and Samanthaarrived at the bus station before noon.2. Joe realized that the train was late while he waited at the trainstation.3. Mary and Samantha realized that Joe was waiting at the trainstation after they left on the bus.
Complex sentences are often more effective than compound sentencesbecause a complex sentence indicates clearer and more specificrelationships between the main parts of the sentence. The word "before,"for instance, tells readers that one thing occurs before another. A wordsuch as "although" conveys a more complex relationship than a word suchas "and" conveys.The term periodic sentence is used to refer to a complex sentencebeginning with a dependent clause and ending with an independentclause, as in "While he waited at the train station, Joe realized that thetrain was late." Periodic sentences can be especially effective because the completed thought occurs at the end of it, so the first part of the sentence can build up to the meaning that comes at the end.
Some More Examples: After I came home, I made dinner. (dependent clause: "After I came home") (independent clause: I made dinner) We visited the museum before it closed. (dependent clause: before it closed.) (independent clause: We visited the museum) Complex sentences are often formed by putting these words at the beginning of the dependent clause: as, as if, before, after, because, though, even though, while, when, whenever, if, during, as soon as, as long as, since, until, unless, where, and wherever. These words are called subordinating conjunctions. See the list here.
COMPLEX SENTENCES / ADJECTIVE CLAUSESFinally, sentences containing adjective clauses (or dependent clauses)are also complex because they contain an independent clause and adependent clause. The subjects, verbs, and subordinators aremarked the same as in the previous sentences, and in thesesentences, the independent clauses are also underlined. A. The woman who called my mom sells cosmetics. B. The book that Jonathan read is on the shelf. C. The house which Abraham Lincoln was born in is still standing. D. The town where I grew up is in the United States. Adjective Clauses are studied in this site separately, but for now it is important to know that sentences containing adjective clauses are complex.
Compound-Complex Sentences A compound-complex sentence is made from two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses. Some examples:1. Although I like to go camping, I havent had the time to go lately, and Ihavent found anyone to go with. independent clause: "I havent had the time to go lately" independent clause: "I havent found anyone to go with" dependent clause: "Although I like to go camping... "
2. We decided that the movie was too violent, but our children, who like to watch scary movies, thought that we were wrong. independent clause: "We decided that the movie was too violent" independent clause: "(but) our children thought that we were wrong" dependent clause: who like to watch scary moviesCompound-complex sentences are very common in English, but onemistake that students often make is to try to write them without havingmastered the simple sentences, compound sentences, and complexsentences first.
A COMPOUND-COMPLEX SENTENCE has two independent clauses joinedto one or more dependent clauses.
Connectors & TransitionsCoordinators SubordinatorsFor After How Since WhyAnd Although If So thatNor As far as Inasmuch as ThanBut As soon as In case that ThroughOr As if Insofar as TillYet As though In that UnlessSo Because Lest Until Before No matter how When(ever) Even if Now that WhereverFirst letters spell Even Once WhetherFANBOYS Though Provided that While
The COORDINATORS above are used to connect simple sentences(or independent clauses) to form compound sentences. In thissense, coordinators join two simple sentences to form compoundsentences.The SUBORDINATORS above, plus some others, are used at thebeginning of a clause which make the clause dependent, requiring anadditional independent clause to form a complex sentence. A complexsentence is complex because it contains two different types of clauses,a dependent clause and an independent clause.
TRANSITIONS AND CONNECTORS are neither coordinators norsubordinators. Transitions and connectors are used within sentences toshow relationships between ideas within sentences. Transitions andconnectors can be used between sentences to show relationshipsbetween ideas in adjoining sentences, paragraphs, or even majorsections of academic papers. Have you ever taken a long journey to a distant destination on strange roads with only infrequent or poorly designed road signs? It can be both frightening and frustrating. Like a driver heading toward a destination, your reader is on a journey of discovery of your ideas, and you can help your reader toward his destination by providing clearly understood transitions and connectors. Transitions and connectors for your reader are like the road signs that guide the traveller. They help your reader understand your ideas.
Connectors Contrast Emphasis AdditionTherefore However Keep in mind First of allSimilarly Otherwise Remember Another reasonHence Instead of Most of all In additionThen But Most important AlsoConsequently Yet The best thing MoreoverAlso On the other hand The basic reason The most importantThus Although The chief factor reason is Even though Special attention Finally In contrast to (with) goes to For example On the contrary should be paid to This means that Still Equally important
Time showing Time Time CommentChronologyWhen I was five years old Then first InterestinglyAs a little girl Next second step SurprisinglyWhen I grew older Afterwards Then third phase UndoubtedlyAs a university student After this step next stage UnavoidablyAs an adult Finally final FrustratinglyThe following subordinating conjunctions and relative pronouns signal howthe dependent clause is related to the sentence:TIME: after, before, since, until, when, whilePLACE: where, whereverREASON: as, because, how, so, that, sinceCONDITIONAL: although, if unless, whetherADDITIONAL INFORMATION: that, which, who, whom, whose Slide 18 Slide 22 Main
Choose if the sentence is either Simple, Compound, or Complex1: The teacher walked into the classroom, greeted the students, andtook attendance. Simple Compound Complex2: Juan played football while Juanita went shopping. Simple Compound Complex
3: Juan played football, yet Juanita went shopping. Simple Compound Complex4: Although Mexico has the better football team, it lost. Simple Compound Complex
5: The island was filled with many winding trails, a small lake, anddangerous wild pigs. Simple Compound Complex 6: Naoki passed the test because he studied hard and understood the material. Simple Compound Complex
Here are two more quizzes for you to download free. Identifying subjects and verbs 10 questions http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/5153032/identifying- subjects-and-verbs-docx-13k?da=yIdentifying Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences Multiple Choice Quiz 15 questions http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/5153030/identifying- simple-docx-16k?da=y