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 everyone :

if subordinate Conjunctions followed by depend clause
why we haven't a complete clause after conjunction or this clause is wrong( She moved her lips as if to smile. ). where is the the subject, verb in the clause after conjunction

Hello nkmg,

Clauses can be divided into finite and non-finite clauses. FInite clauses contain a subject and verb; non-finite clauses contain non-finite verb forms such as infinitives and participles. This is an example of a non-finite clause. To read more about non-finite clauses see here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I don't know why my question always not clear
I mean here that the clause structure contain (subject +verb ) that means it must be of being these two element to say it is a clause
but the infinite don't have the clause components because the verb in it don't act as the verb there is one element absent so i think we can say the infinite phrase than clause

Hello nkmg,

In general, 'as if' begins a clause (with subject and verb, as you point out), but 'as if' + infinitive is a special and relatively uncommon construction. There's a definition and example of it in the Cambridge Dictionary, though, as you can see from the example sentence you ask about, verbs other than 'make' can also be used before it (e.g. 'smile').

I'm not sure if this will be an entirely satisfactory answer to you, as you seem to really want to understand how sentences are structured. This is great – you can really learn a lot this way – but there are many aspects of English, like this construction, that are probably best learned as fixed patterns. But I hope this helps you!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your attention & sorry for redundancy
according to my understand we consider this sentence as complex sentence

she moved her lips as if to smile. ) is it right ?

Hello nkmg,

No worries! Yes, that is correct - it is a complex sentence.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Which of the following sentences is true:

Other than in Africa, where else do elephants live?

Other than in Africa, where else elephants live?

Thanks in advance,

Hello Abdullah,

The first one is grammatically correct and the second one is not.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

hi there,
what's the difference between co-ordinate and subordinate conjunction? No offense,but i couldn't get it ,are conjunction and clauses are same?

Hi N Muse,

A conjunction is a part of speech - a word or phrase which joins words, phrases, clauses and sentences together.

A clause is a grammatical unit - see here for a full definition. Clauses can be categorised in several ways but a major one is to distinguish between main clauses (which can stand alone as sentences) and subordinate clauses (which must be attached to a main clause). The conjunctions which join these are either co-ordinating (which join two main clauses) or subordinating (which join a subordinate clause to a main clause).

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team