What are Simple, Compound and Complex Sentences?
Whenever you want to write grammatically correct content, it is important to get your sentence formation correct. To understand about sentences, you should first know the three main types of sentences that English grammar allows you to write. They are simple, compound and complex sentences. There is a fourth one, compound-complex sentence, as well. However, once you know the first three types, you can form the fourth type correctly. Here is a brief overview of these sentences.
The classification of sentences is based on its clause structure. In a simple sentence, there is only one independent clause. It means there is only one part that can stand on its own and give out the complete meaning. Simple sentences are usually used at the beginning of a paragraph or essay because they put forward points very clearly and are easy to understand. A simple sentence has one unit of the subject and one unit of the predicate. Some examples are given below:
- I play on the ground.
- Jack and Jill went up the hill.
- The teacher is in the classroom.
In the first and third examples, there is only subject (I play & the teacher), whereas, in the second example, there are two subjects (Jack and Jill). However, these two subjects are treated as a single unit, and it falls into the category of a simple sentence.
The structure of a compound sentence is such that there is a minimum of two independent clauses that is connected with the help of coordinating conjunctions. Only one of the seven coordinating conjunctions (and, for, but, nor, yet, so, or) can be used to connect these independent clauses. In the absence of this conjunction, you can make use of a semi-colon. Some of the examples of compound sentences are:
- I ran quickly, but I missed the bus.
- The wife cooked, and the husband cleaned the dishes.
- It was raining heavily so I closed the doors.
- There was a terror alert in the city; curfew was announced with immediate effect.
A compound sentence helps you to connect two independent clauses and give more meaning to your content. When the reader reads what you have written, it helps him to relate to the flow of your sentences.
A complex sentence is widely used, and it helps to improve the quality of your content. The structure of this sentence is such that it has one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. A subordinating conjunction or relative conjunction connects these clauses. The dependent clauses can be adverbial clauses (when it answers the questions, “when, where, why, how), noun clauses (when it answers the question, “what”) or adjective clauses (when it answers the questions, “who, whom, which).
The subordinating conjunctions that connect the dependent clause with the independent clause can be words like although, though, since, therefore, whenever, wherever, when, which, so that, until, after, before, because, if, etc.
- Some of the examples of complex sentences are:
- I feel sleepy whenever I take a book.
- My car stopped at the school building, which was red and huge.
- When your doctor tells you something, listen to him fully.
- I wore a sweater because the weather was too cold.
All these three types of sentences have their exclusive structure and are a treat to read when they are used correctly with the right punctuation marks. When you are using too many simple or complex or compound sentences in your content, it can create monotony in the readers’ minds. Hence, the key is to use all these types in the right density. Use simple sentences at the time of introduction, elaborate it further as you proceed into your content using complex sentences and provide more stress by using compound sentences, to make your content a pleasure to read.