Forms of Sentences
A clause is a simple sentence, with a subject and a predicate. Clauses can be either independent (they can stand alone) or dependent (they require an independent clause).
There are four basic sentence forms:
- Simple: One independent clause
- Compound: Two or more independent clauses but no dependent clauses
- Complex: One independent clause plus one or more dependent clauses
- Compound-Complex: Two or more independent clauses plus one or more dependent clauses
This is a simple sentence with a subject and predicate. Adjuncts can fill out the sentences.
- Bill slept.
- Susan ate lunch.
- Frank and Alice have been watching movies all weekend.
- For the past few weeks, I have been collecting support for my essay.
A compound sentence has two or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction. Both clauses could stand by themselves without the other. There is no dependent clause.
- Bill slept and Simon stayed awake.
- Susan ate lunch, but Caroline skipped the meal.
- Frank and Alice have been watching movies all weekend, so they are tired now.
- For the past few weeks, I have been collecting support for my essay, but I am not finished yet.
A complex sentence has one independent clause, and one or more dependent clauses. In the following examples, the independent clause is underlined. The dependent clause can appear before, after, or within the independent clause.
- Because it rained, Phil used his umbrella.
- Marion stayed up late even though she had a test the next day.
- The calendar that you bought was for the wrong year!.
- I have no idea what you are talking about.
A compound-complex sentence has at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause. They can be in any order. In the following examples, the independent clauses are underlined.
- He gave me a warning because he thought it would help me, but I was hurt anyway.
- Although it had snowed for two days, I had to go to work, so I got ready for a long, cold walk.
- The computer's hard drive failed and the screen cracked even though it had good reviews.
- I bought the jacket which I had found online, but .