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.

 

Section: 

Comments

Hello Team,

Please tell me how to identify subject(s) and object(s) in compound and complex sentences? I am studying grammar on my own and trying to use the rules outside 'the grammar textbook exercises', and trust me it's tough! So when I try to figure out the subject and object in the opening line (sentence) of 'Hansel and Gretel',and also to put the sentence in one of the categories (simple,compound and complex),I am lost!!! I know you do not encourage learners to cite examples from outside sources here on this website, so I am not typing the sentence. (Also,do you find my writing grammatical or are there any errors?)
Thanks and regards,
M

Hello mahua_chakravarty,

English is, generally speaking, not a language in which nouns are inflected for case. That means that there is no way to know simply from the noun itself if it is an object, a subject, a genitive form and so on. The only way to work out which word or phrase is the subject, for example, is to look at the whole sentence and use the information there (particularly the logical meaning of the sentence in context, the verb form and the word order) to help you.

As far as clauses go, the same thing applies. You need to identify the clauses and then use your knowledge and understanding of the meaning to work out the relationship between them. Here conjunctions can help as certain conjunctions are used with subordinate clauses and others with coordinate clauses.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I have 2 questions
1. A girl told me :"terrorism is borne out of revolutionary acts and terrorists are unfairly treated". I don't believe this view so when I'm reporting this back to the girl or another person, can I say what she told me exactly and say I don't believe it or am I meant to report it in the indirect speech format because I don't believe it.
2. In the event of trying to report what someone said in the past, I can't really recollect what was said but sometimes I see the need to report in the direct format. Example he said "Gone are the days when people could speak good English" now I'm reporting it to another, can I rephrase and still quote it like he said "Those days when people could speak English are gone" since its the same view. Thanks I really need clarification on these two questions.

Hello Timmosky,

It's really your choice whether to use direct or indirect speech. Which style people use depends a lot on context, but I'd say that in general indirect speech is more typical, because in that way you can include what you think is most relevant and comment directly on it.

You can also certainly use direct speech that is actually your interpretation of what someone said, but, depending on the context, this might be considered unfair. If you're writing a newspaper article or a research paper, for example, I would not recommend using direct speech that you don't actually have a sure source for. But in other contexts it might be more appropriate -- it really depends on the context and how you do it.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Hello sir , I have a confusion with the placement of the word 'touring' in the following sentence.
My touring parents must have reached Port Blair by now.
Or should it be
My parents' touring must have reached Port Blair by now.
As per my understanding the first sentence seems correct where touring is used as an adjective. Can touring be used as a noun as in the second sentence? Can touring be placed anywhere else in the sentence?

Hello amrita,

I'm afraid that none of these sentences are idiomatic, i.e. they sound a bit strange. When it's an adjective, 'touring' tends to be used with a person or group that is constantly on tour. 'touring' can be used as a noun (e.g. 'I don't like touring') but this is also fairly rare.

Instead, I'd suggest using the noun 'tour' or even the word 'trip' if what you mean is that they are traveling. In other words, something like 'My parents' tour must have reached ...' or 'My parents, who are traveling, must have reached ...'

By the way, we have a limited capability to answer questions such as this one, which have little or nothing to do with the content on our site. Occasionally we help people with questions such as this one, but please be aware that we won't always be able to do this.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi :)
Are there rules that govern the uses of commas in sentences with conjunctions?

Hi beckysyto,

The rules for comma use are quite complication and depend upon the conjunction in question. You can find a summary of the rules here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi all, did i understand correctly?

1: simple sentences are "always " an independent clause no matter how long the clause may be . For instance: The badly dressed woman standing right in front of you is my exgirlfriend.

2: compound sentences are two "independent" clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction. For instance: She is good at tennis , and i am excellent at volley.

What if i said : She is good at tennis , but i'm beter than her? What type of sentence is this?
My question is "Should both clauses in a compound sentence be Independent"?

Hello heeppee creepy,

The answer to your last question is yes, there must be at least two independent clauses in a compound sentence. Therefore, 'She is good at tennis, but I'm better than her' is a compound sentence -- it has two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction.

And yes, simple sentences are always formed by an independent clause. In your example, however, 'standing right in front of you' is a reduced relative clause ('The ... woman who is standing right in front of you is ...' Since a relative clause is a kind of dependent clause, your example is not a simple sentence but rather a complex sentence.

The Wikipedia article on Sentence clause structure has lots of more detailed information and examples, so you might want to take a look at it as well.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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