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 Sir
Could I use 'would' instead of 'will' in the following sentence?
By the time I get to New York he will be gone. Because this is something that you assume. I think so. I hope I am correct.
Thank you.

Hello Andrew international,

You would need to change 'get' to 'got' to maintain consistency. The sentence is essentially a conditional form without 'if' and it requires consistency in terms of likely/unlikely between the condition (get/got) and result (will/would).


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hey there,

Getting confused in one respect: why is "so" considered a co-ordinating conjunction while "because" is considered a subordinating conjunction? Isn't saying "Y because X." the same as saying "X so Y."?

According to the difference between "so" and "because" presented above, the equivalent sentences:

"They are coming by car so they should be here soon." would be a compound sentence, while

"They should be here soon because they are coming by car." would be a complex sentence.

What is the difference here?

Hello  9erik1,

That's a good question and it's not one that has an obvious answer. The question of why so and because are not treated the same is one that has been discussed in linguistics quite a lot. For a good overview of the topic I recommend this post by Neal Whitman. The whole thing is worth reading but the relevant section for your question starts on page 2.

An argument has even been made that because is not a conjunction at all. It's a thought-provoking argument and is made here by a serious academic.

I hope those links provide some illumination. It is, as I said, a complex issue and not one with a straightforward answer, making your post, as I also said, a very good question.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

In the sentence, "There is a boy", which is the subject, and which is the predicate.


Hello Adya's,

'boy' is the subject and 'there' is the dummy subject

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, it is written in the that "Don't use ‘and’ to link adjectives when you want them to contrast with each other"

Does it mean the following sentence is wrong?

An octopus has no bones, eight long arms and a soft round body.

Should I use conjunction "but" in the sentence above?

An octopus has eight long arms and a soft round body but it has no bones.

Hello Omyhong,

The first sentence sounds fine to me. The rule that you mention is for adjectives and in the sentence there is a list of noun phrases ('bones', 'arms' and 'body'). There also doesn't seem to be any contrast. 

The second sentence could be correct in specific contexts. The first one is the better choice in general.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

If a question is as follows ( x is the father of y, who is working in z. So who is working in z ? Is it x or y )....... Answer pls

Hello Sdeo0202,

In general, y is the person working in z, but it could be, especially in speaking, that the speakers means it is x who is working in z and just hasn't made this clear.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team