Sentence Structure

Phrase: A group of words


Clause: A group of words containing both a subject and a verb in tense


Independent Clause: expresses a complete thought

Emmanuel helped his classmates.


Dependent Clause: does not express a complete thought, uses dependent clause markers

While Beza studied the article


Sentence: A group of words containing at least one independent clause

Emmanuel helped his classmates while Beza studied the article.

Josephine knew the consequences of her actions.

The dog ran.


Four Sentence Types

All sentences must have an independent clause, but you can mix and match as many dependent or independent clauses as you want to make more interesting and complicated sentences. There are four sentences types that use independent and dependent clauses differently.


Simple Sentences: one main independent clause with a subject and verb, either or both of which can be compound

I lose my passport.

Bob and I went to the movies.

Shayan draws and paints extremely well.


Compound Sentences: two main independent clauses connected with a comma and a coordinating conjunction

I had my student ID, but I forgot to get the semester sticker.

Driving fast is fun and exciting, but it can lead to accidents.

They went to the carnival, and the rides were too expensive!


Complex Sentences: one main independent clause and at least one dependent clause

Although I lost my passport, I did not worry about it.

I ran to catch the bus even though the next one would be coming in another 10 minutes.

“Dexter” is my favorite show because I love the bond between Deb and Dexter.


Compound-Complex Sentences: at least two main independent clauses and at least one dependent clause

Unless conditions change, she will spend the rest of her life working for minimum wage; there are thousands of women like her.

Driving fast is fun and exciting, but it can lead to accidents if you are not careful.

When I arrived at work on Monday, I was surprised to see that Roseli was there; normally, she works only on Fridays.

Kayla | 2016

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