Types of Sentences
The sentences that we write can be classified in two ways:
1. By Structure
2. By Function
See Types of Questions
Sentences By Structure
In order to discuss sentence types by structure, you must be able to distinguish between two kinds of clauses, groups of words that have a subject and a verb.
An independent clause
(main clause) has a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought. It is a sentence.
A dependent clause
(subordinate clause) also has a subject and a verb but it does not
express a complete thought. It is not a sentence.
1. Simple Sentences
Contain one independent clause.
I ate my lunch quickly.
My brother visited his uncle last week.
Daniel and Sarven play basketball every day.
Above example contains a compound subject but it is still a simple sentence.
Birds sing beautifully
Sally dropped her books.
I made a cake for my mother.
He painted his house red.
Bill is a student.
Bill seemed tired.
2. Compound Sentences
Contain two or more independent clauses joined together in one of the three ways:
1. With a coma (,) and a coordinating conjunction FANBOYS
(for / and / nor / but / or / yet / so) to show the relationship between the clauses.
The students were tired, for they had studied all night without sleeping.
Chris is playing the piano, and Jan is playing the guitar.
The baby cannot be blamed for crying, nor can we blame its parents.
Juan wanted to leave, but Gary did not.
He must pass the final exam, or he will have to repeat the course.
They were happy to escape the danger in their country, yet they knew they would miss their homeland.
We were hurrying to prepare for the party, so everyone helped.
2. With a semicolon (;) when the ideas expressed are closely related.
They were glad to leave the country; their lives were in danger.
The students were exhausted; they had studied all night for their finals.
We need to hurry; the plane leaves in an hour.
3. With a semicolon (;) and an adverbial conjunction.
consequently, moreover, nevertheless, therefore, however
She was unhappy with her grade; consequently, she found a tutor.
Her thesis needed work; moreover, her paragraphs lacked focus.
She worked hard all semester; therefore, her grades improved.
She worked hard all semester; nevertheless, she did not get an "A".
3. Complex Sentences
Contain one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses
A dependent clause
may be joined by or begin with one of the following subordinating conjunctions that expresses the relationship between the clauses.
|although, even though, while, though|
because, since, as
if, when, unless
whenever, once, before, after, until, as soon as
Although the girl spoke no English, she found her way to the hotel.
The children stayed in the house all day since it was raining so hard.
If you want to do well in school, you must study regularly.
Our neighbor, who married last year, is expecting a baby.
Although the weather was bad, we went out.
Before my father arrived home, I finished all my homework.
Notice that you use a comma when the subordinator begins a sentence but not when it joins clauses.
4. Compound-complex Sentences
Contain two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.
When he listens to the radio, he turns the volume up, and the neighbors complain.
Although the power was out all over the city, Mr. Griffin got to work on time; therefore, he was able to attend an important meeting with his boss.
Our new manager, who took over the position last month, was a complete disappointment, so he resigned yesterday.
The car that was stolen yesterday was found, but it was damaged considerably.