Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Sentence Structures

Assalamualaikum and hello everyone!! Today I want to share about sentence structures.
There are 4 structures of sentence that we have to know. They are simple sentence, compound sentence, complex sentence and compound-complex sentence.

  1. Simple sentences:

A simple sentence has only one independent clause and it only have 1 subject and 1 predicate. It can be a short sentence or it can be long.It does NOT contain either a dependent clause or another simple sentence.

  • short simple sentence: The dog barked.
  • long simple sentence: Leaning first this way and then that, the large tan dog with a wide black collar barked loudly at the full moon last night from under the lilac bush in the shadow of the north side of the house. 

The simple sentence may have a compound subject: The dog and the cat howled.
  • It may have a compound verb: The dog howled and barked.
  • It may have a compound subject and a compound verb: The dog and the cat howled and yowled, respectively

2. Compound sentences:

A compound sentence has two or more clauses or consist of two or more simple sentences joined by

(1) a comma followed by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so): The dog barked, and the cat yowled.
(2) a semicolon: The dog barked; the cat yowled.
(3) a comma, but ONLY when the simple sentences are being treated as items in a series:
The dog barked, the cat yowled, and the rabbit chewed. 


  • (We stayed behind) and (finished the job)- 2 clauses
  • (We stayed behind) and (finished the job), then (we went home)- 3 clauses

The clauses in a compound sentence are joined by co-ordinating conjunctions:

  • John shouted and everybody waved.
  • We looked everywhere but we couldn’t find him.
  • They are coming by car so they should be here soon.

The common coordinating conjunctions are:

and – but – or – nor – so – then – yet - for

3. Complex sentences:

A complex sentence has a main/independent clause and one or more subordinating/dependent clause. 

  • Her father died when she was very young

=Her father died (main clause)
=when (subordinating conjunction)
=she was very young (adverbial clause)

  • She had a difficult childhood because her father died when she was very young.

=She had a difficult childhood (main clause)
=because (subordinating conjunction)
=her father died (adverbial clause)
=when (subordinating conjunction)
=she was very young (adverbial clause).

#Some subordinate clauses can come in front of the main clause:

  • Although a few snakes are dangerous most of them are quite harmless

=Although (subordinating conjunction)
=some snakes are dangerous (adverbial clause)
=most of them are harmless (main clause).

#A sentence can contain both subordinate and coordinate clauses:

  • Although she has always lived in France, she speaks fluent English because her mother was American and her father was Nigerian

=Although (subordinating conjunction)
=she has always lived in France (adverbial clause),
=she speaks fluent English (main clause)
=because (subordinating conjunction)
=her mother was American (adverbial clause)
=and (coordinating conjunction)

=her father was Nigerian (adverbial clause).

4. Compound-complex sentences:

A compound-complex sentence is made from two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.

1. Although I like to go camping, I haven't had the time to go lately, and I haven't found anyone to go with.
  • independent clause: "I haven't had the time to go lately"
  • independent clause: "I haven't 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 movies

Compound-complex sentences are very common in English, but one mistake that students often make is to try to write them without having mastered the simple sentencescompound sentences, and complex sentences first.
If this is a confusing lesson, return to it later after completing the next three lessons (Lessons Six, Seven, and Eight).

salam sayang

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