Simple sentences:

A simple sentence has only one clause:

The children were laughing.
John wanted a new bicycle.
All the girls are learning English.

Compound sentences:

A compound sentence has two or more clauses:

(We stayed behind) and (finished the job)
(We stayed behind) and (finished the job), then (we went home)

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

Complex sentences:

A complex sentence has a main clause and one or more adverbial clauses. Adverbial clauses usually come after the main 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).

There are seven types of adverbial clauses:


  Common conjunctions
Contrast clauses  although; though; even though; while;
Reason clauses because; since; as
Place clauses where; wherever; everywhere
Purpose clauses so that; so; because + want
Result clauses so that; so … that; such … that
Time clauses when; before; after; since; while; as; as soon as; by the time; until
Conditional clauses  if; unless; provided (that); as long as

Complete the sentences with conjunctions.

Match conjunctions to functions.




Hello Afia shakir khan,

The first sentence is fine. We can use 'so... as to' or 'such a... as to' to mean 'so... that I...'

The second sentence is not correct. We would say '(exactly/just) the kind of student'.

The third sentence is fine, but it rather literary in tone. It is an unlikely structure outside of that context.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


It's common to put a comma before adjectival clause beginning with which. For example,

''I live on the X street, which I was born''(particular street)

''I live on the X street which is being renovated now''

''I went to the agencies neither of which called back''

In these sentences, which begins the relative clause. Do I need to put a comma in the first sentence before which and in the second one before neither since they describe the particular things?

Thank you

Hello JamlMakav,

In general, commas are not necessary -- and not used -- before defining relative clauses (which are also called restrictive relative clauses in some sources), but are necessary before non-defining relative clauses (also known as non-restrictive relative clauses).

I think the explanations on the two pages I've linked to will answer your questions, but if not, please feel free to ask us on one of those pages. I'd recommend starting with the page on non-defining relative clauses.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Is this sentence grammatically fine, " Why is the dead sea called so?". I want to ask the students why is the dead sea given this name.

Thanks in advance,

Hello zagrus,

I think a more common order would be:

Why is the Dead Sea so named?


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Please explain me if this is correct and why it is correct:

"Below is presented an image..."

"is" is the verb and "presented" is a noun?

Best regards

Hello ajteixeira,

You could say that, though the word order in would probably be better as 'An image is presented below', which is a passive structure. But even that sounds a bit unnatural. Instead, I'd recommend something like 'The image below shows ...'. It's an active verb and I'd say is more often used.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello :

Is usage two successive conjunction grammatically correct?

Hello nkmy,

Do you have a particular sentence in mind? If so, please post and we will comment.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello the LearnEnglish team,

''Wouldn't it be awkward to see what John wrote''

John hasn't written anything at the moment of saying that sentence, but I believe past simple is used in the subordinate clause because seeing happens first than writing. Correct me if I'm wrong. What would be different if I changed past simple into present perfect? For example, if I reported the sentence, I could use past simple or past perfect ''I thought if it wouldn't be awkward to see what he wrote/had written'' and with ''had written'' I'd just emphasize writing before seeing.

''I'm just gonna tell him I could only find four rocks''

In this sentence, ''I'' is saying the sentence and looking for more rocks afterward(after saying it). Why then ''could'' is used since it refers to the past(finished action)? Is it similar to above but in this case, finding is before speaking?

Thank you very much.