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 Alyson,

I already answered questions 1-5 in my comment above. All of those sentences are correct -- well, if 3 and 4 are supposed to be questions, then they should begin with 'Am I going' instead of 'I am going', but otherwise they are correct.

There's no real difference in meaning between 1 and 3 or 2 and 4. I'd say 1 and 2 are more common, as we typically use an -ing form after 'go' when talking about sports or activities. Many reference grammars say that the present continuous (1 and 2) implies more certainty than 'be going to', but this difference is quite subtle and very subjective, so you can hear both forms used to communicate the same thing.

If you decide to do something right now (which sometimes is spontaneous), then 'will' is the best. For example, if just now I decide that I'm going to call you tomorrow and want to tell you that, I'd say 'I'll call you tomorrow' (not 'I'm going to call you tomorrow').

All of this is explained more on our talking about the future page.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much

I have problems in how to put a noun or adjective in complex sentence , I face this difficulty during my preparation for IELTS exam . I'm in Bad NEED for your help.

Hello safawad,

Have you seen our IELTS section and TakeIELTS? I'd highly recommend you take a look at those resources in your preparations for the test.

If you have any specific questions about a specific sentence, you are welcome to ask us on an appropriate page, but I'm afraid we don't provide general explanations beyond what it is already available on our site. For that kind of thing, I would recommend you look for a class.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I appreciate your help ...

We were proud that you conceded defeat so graciously.

Does the part you conceded defeat so graciously fall under
independent, infinitive, surbodinating or co-ordinating clause?

Hello Masseuse_Niagrass,

A 'that-clause' is a subordinate clause. The 'that' can be omitted.

Please note that we don't provide answers to tasks from elsewhere. We're happy to answer questions about the materials on our own pages, but not to provide help on homework or tasks from tests.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your reply.

Although he was one of the super cool students, he could not get overall high marks compared to me however his English marks are far better than me.
is it complex Sentence?
Thank You.

Hello RanaUmar,

I'm afraid that the sentence you ask about is a run-on sentence. The good news is that you could still created a complex sentence by using parts of it. 'Although he was one of the cool students, he did not get marks as high as mine', for example, is a correct complex sentence (but not a run-on).

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

hi peter

i have confuse about this sentence related to (adverbial & compound clause). could you clarify me? i mentioned below the sentence.

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).

i thinking (she has always lived in france) also main clause. how do i understand this are adverbial clause and main clause. kindly help me little bit brief explanation. i hope

best regards