“An Introduction to Sentence
Dr. Montasser Mohamed
• Experienced writers use a variety of sentences to
make their writing interesting and lively. Too
many simple sentences, for example, will sound
choppy and immature while too many long
sentences will be difficult to read and hard to
• There are three types of sentences:
1. simple sentences
2. compound sentences
3. complex sentences
1. SIMPLE SENTENCE
A simple sentence, also called an independent
clause, contains a subject and a verb, and it
expresses a complete thought.
A. Some students like to study in the mornings.
B. Ahmed and Murad play football every
C. Alicia goes to the library and studies every
A compound sentence contains two
independent clauses joined by a
coordinator. The coordinators are as
follows: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
Except for very short sentences,
coordinators are always preceded by a
• 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.
Discussion of the examples
• The above three sentences are compound sentences. Each
sentence contains two independent clauses, and they are
joined by a coordinator with a comma preceding it. Note how
the conscious use of coordinators can change the relationship
between the clauses.
• Sentences B and C, for example, are identical except for the
• In sentence B, which action occurred first? Obviously,
"Alejandro played football" first, and as a consequence,
"Maria went shopping.
• In sentence C, "Maria went shopping" first. In sentence C,
"Alejandro played football" because, possibly, he didn't have
anything else to do, for or because "Maria went shopping."
• 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.
A. When he handed in his homework, he forgot to give
the teacher the last page.
B. The teacher returned the
homework after she noticed the error.
C. The students are studying because they have a test
D. After they finished studying, Juan and Maria
went to the movies.
A. Juan and Maria went to the
movies after they finished studying.
Discussion of the Examples
• When a complex sentence begins with a subordinator such as
sentences A and D, a comma is required at the end of the
dependent clause. When the independent clause begins the
sentence with subordinators in the middle as in sentences B,
C, and E, no comma is required. If a comma is placed before
the subordinators in sentences B, C, and E, it is wrong.
• Note that sentences D and E are the same except sentence D
begins with the dependent clause which is followed by a
comma, and sentence E begins with the independent clause
which contains no comma. The comma after the dependent
clause in sentence D is required, and experienced listeners of
English will often hear a slight pause there. In sentence E,
however, there will be no pause when the independent clause
begins the sentence.
COMPLEX SENTENCES / ADJECTIVE
sentences containing adjective
clauses (or dependent clauses)
are also complex because they
contain an independent clause
and a dependent clause.
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.
• Sentence Connectors are a great way of improving your English.
Why? Because we use them to express relationships between ideas
and to combine sentences.
• When we begin learning a language, we speak in very basic
sentences, a bit like children.
Example: “London is a very exciting city. London is very expensive.”
• As we learn more words and more complex sentence structure, we
are able to start using sentence connectors to make more
• “London is a very exciting city; nevertheless it is also very
“Despite the fact that London is very expensive, it is also very
Types of Conjunctions
• Subordinating Conjunctions- They connect a dependent clause and
an independent clause and establish a relationship between them.
They happen at the beginning of a sentences (with a comma in the
middle separating the clauses) or in the middle of a sentence with
• Coordinating Conjunctions – They connect words, phrases and
clauses. They are usually found in the middle of a sentence with a
comma (,) just before the conjunction, or at the beginning of the
• Correlative Conjunctions – They connect equal sentence elements
together (like two nouns) and are always composed by two words.
• Linking Adverbs and Transition Words- They connect two
independent clauses or sentences. They provide transition between
• Subordinating Conjunctions connect a dependent
clause and an independent clause and establish a
relationship between them. They happen at the
beginning of a sentences (with a comma in the middle
separating the clauses) or in the middle of a sentence
with no comma.
• So, basically, a subordinate conjunction will connect a
main clause and a subordinate one. If the main clause
comes first in the sentence it won’t be separated from
the subordinate clause by a comma. If the subordinate
clause comes first, then we will separate the clauses
with a comma.
as long as
in order that
The most common subordinating
• After - later than the time that : later than when.
Example: “Call me after you arrive at work”
• Although - despite the fact that : used to introduce a fact that makes
another fact unusual or surprising.
Example: “Although she was tired, she couldn’t sleep”
• As - used to introduce a statement which indicates that something being
mentioned was known, expected, etc.
Example: “As we explained last class, coordinating conjunctions are
• Because - for the reason that.
Example: “I painted the house because it was a horrible colour”
• Before - earlier than the time that : earlier than when.
Example: “Come and visit me before you leave”
• How - in what manner or way.
Example: “Let me show you how to knit”
If -used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true.
Example: “It would be fantastic if you could come to the party”
Once - at the moment when : as soon as.
Example: “Once you’ve learnt how to cycle, it’s very easy”
Since - used to introduce a statement that explains the reason for another statement.
Example: “Since you’ve studied so well, you can go outside and play”
Than - used to introduce the second or last of two or more things or people that are being
compared — used with the comparative form of an adjective or adverb.
Example: “My sister is older than I am”
That - used to introduce a clause that states a reason or purpose.
Example: “Olivia is so happy that it’s summer again”
When - at or during the time that something happened.
Example: “A teacher is good when he inspires his students”
Where - at or in the place that something happened.
Example: “We went to the bar where there most shade”
Whether -used to indicate choices or possibilities.
Example: “Bruno wasn’t sure whether to go to India or Thailand”
While - during the time that something happened”
Example: “While we were in Paris, it snowed”
Until - up to the time or point that something happened”
Example: “We stayed up talking until the sun came up”
• These conjunctions connect words, phrases
and clauses. They are usually found in the
middle of a sentence with a comma (,) just
before the conjuction, or at the beginning of
the difference between coordination
• coordination means both parts of the
sentence are equal. Subordination means one
clause, or part of the sentence, is more
important than the other.
• Coordination: “Diana loved studying maths,
but Julia hated it.”
Subordination: “Diana only enjoyed math if
Julia was there.”
ways of using Coordinating
• There are three ways of using Coordinating Conjunctions:
• 1. Connecting two main clauses
When you connect two main clauses, use a comma. The
clauses are underlined.
• Example: “When I get home the dog is on the sofa and the
cat is on the bed”
• 2. Connecting two items
Connect two gramatical units, but not clauses.
• Example: “My hat’s great: it has flowers and a ribbon”
• 3. Connecting three or more items in a series.
This way is similar to number two. You separate the items
with a comma, except the last.
When do we use each connector?
• 1 - Used to join words or groups of words.
Example: “My dog is black and white.
• 2 - Used to describe an action that is repeated or that occurs for a long
Example: ” The dog barked and barked and barked.
• 3 - Used to describe actions that occur at the same time.
Example: “They sat and waited for hours for the doctor to come”
• 4- Used to describe an action that occurs after another action.
Example: “Ok, we will travel for 3 hours and then stop to eat”
• 5- Used to describe an action that occurs after and is caused by another
Example: “I asked her to buy me some sweets and she did.
• Nor - used after a negative statement to introduce a related negative word
or statement. It’s not often used on its own.
Example: “Laura didn’t eat her meat, nor did she want the vegetables”
• 1 - Used to introduce a statement that adds
something to a previous statement and
usually contrasts with it in some way
Example: “Gina doesn’t like James, but I do”
• 2 - Synonymous of ”other than”.
Example: “When the weather got worse we
had no choice but to go home”
The Use of “Or”
• 1 - used to introduce another choice or possibility
Example: “Would you like tea or coffee?”
• 2 - Used in negative statements to introduce something else that is also
Example: “We couldn’t stop or get out of the taxi”
• 3 - Used to say what will happen if a specified thing is not done.
Example: “You have to go to the job interview or you won’t get a job”
• 4 - Used to introduce the reason why something said previously is true.
Example: “He must have passed the exam or he would be upset”
• 5 – Used to introduce a word or phrase that defines or explains what
another word or phrase means.
Example: “Adiós, or in English goodbye, is what we say to each other when
“Yet” and “So”
• Yet - used to introduce a statement that adds something to a
previous statement and usually contrasts with it in some way.
Example: “My aunt designs high quality yet affordable clothes”
• 1 - For that reason : and therefore
Example: “The film was very bad, so we left after 10 minutes”
• 2 - Used to say the reason for something.
Example: “Please be quiet so everyone can read peacefully”
• 3 - Used in speech to introduce a statement or question.
Example: “So, finally we meet!”
• These conjunctions connect equal sentence
elements together (like two nouns) and are
always composed by two words.
When do we use each connector?
• Both… And - used before two words or phrases connected with and to
stress that each is included.
Example: “Both husband and wife loved going to the cinema”
• Either… Or - used with or to indicate choices or possibilities.
Example: “What is her name? It’s either Annita or Annalisa”
• Neither… Nor - used with nor to indicate two or more people, things,
actions, etc., about which something is not true.
Example: “I’m vegan, I eat neither dairy nor eggs”
• Whether… Or - used to indicate choices or possibilities.
Example: “Andrew wasn’t sure whether to go on holiday or stay at home”
• Not only… But also - used to say that both of two related statements are
Example: “It snowed not only in Barcelona, but also in neighbouring
• As… As - used to make comparisons.
Example: “James studied as hard as you did”
“Linking Adverbs and Transition
• Let’s remember what linking adverbs and
transition words are. They connect two
independent clauses or sentences. They
provide transition between ideas. They can
also be called conjunctive adverbs.
• They can be used at the beginning of a
sentence or mid-sentence with punctuation.
In the same
In the event
On the other
As a result
In contrast to
When do we use each connector?
• Accordingly - in a proper or appropriate way : in a way that suits
the facts, needs, or requirements of a situation.
Example: “Susan is an intern and she is paid accordingly”
• Besides – synonym of also; in addition to what has already been
Example: “I really want to go to the party, and besides, it’s close to
• Consequently - happening as a result of a particular action or set of
Example: “The price of real estate has gone up. Consequently
people have to move outside the city”
• Finally - at the end of a period of time.
Example: “After years of arguing, Tim and Tina finally got divorced”
• Furthermore - in addition to what has been said.
Example: “Bruno always makes amazing art. Furthermore, he’s such a nice
• Hence – for this reason.
Example: “The company lost a lot of money. Hence, the manager was
asked to resign”
• However- used when you are saying something that is different from or
contrasts with a previous statement.
Example: “Mary should stay at home and study. However, she decided to
• In fact - in truth — used to stress that a statement is true although it may
be surprising or unlikely.
Example: “He looks young, but in fact, he’s in his 40′s”
• Instead - used to say that one thing is done or that one thing or person is
chosen when another is not chosen, cannot be done, etc.
Example: “I don’t have any coffee, would you mind tea instead?”
Meanwhile - at or during the same time : in the meantime.
Example: “Please make something to eat. Meanwhile, I’ll clean”
Moreover - in addition to what has been said. This word is quite formal.
Example: “I’d love to come over for coffee. Moreover, I’ll bring a cake!”
Namely - used when giving exact information about something you have already
Example: “Malaria can be prevented, namely by taking malaria tablets and using a
Nevertheless - in spite of what has just been said.
Example: “Joy doesn’t like avocados, nevertheless she ate them for her husband”
Nonetheless - in spite of what has just been said.
Example: “We’re always arguing, she’s my best friend nonetheless”
Otherwise – in a different way or manner.
Example: “After the fire, all the books had been burnt or otherwise destroyed”
Similarly - in a similar way : in almost the same way.
Example: “My sister’s and my house are decorated similarly: we love minimalism”
• Likewise - in the same way.
Example: “Everyone in class studies 3 hours a day, we should do
• Thereafter - after that.
Example: “Thereafter, the companies merged together”
• Therefore – for that reason : because of that.
Example: “The mobile phone is light to carry, therefore it’s very
• Thus - in this way or manner : like this. This word is also very
Example: “The detergent is highly concentrated, thus you will have
to dilute it”
• Wow, good job everyone! You should now have a clearer
understanding of sentence connectors.