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.




Hi, I am trying to learn the British pronunciation. Can you please tell me what is the meaning of ' and . in pronunciation. I have learnt all the sound symbols, but don't have an idea why ' and . are there. Eg /prəˌnʌn.siˈeɪ.ʃən/ for pronunciation. Thank you.

Hi Melody16,

These symbols indicate where the stress is in a given word. The main stress is on the syllable following ' and the secondary stress following ˌ


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much Peter. I have one more doubt. What is the meaning of the , in /,ɪn.trəˈdjuːs/? I see that it is not a . but a ,.

Hello Melody16,

I think the best place for you to look for detailed information on these symbols is here. Look for the section on suprasegmentals and you'll see a list of all of them, including the one you ask about in this question.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, could you also please tell me how can I learn phonetics? I really want to improve my speaking skills too.

Hi, could you please tell me if 'however' is a subordinating conjunction? if so, under which category is it coming? I think it is a contrast clause. Am I right?

Hello Melody,

'however' is not a conjunction but an adverb, though you're right when you think that it is used to make a contrast. I'd suggest you check the dictionary entry and example sentences, and there's also a BBC page that you might find useful.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I think that the sentence (We stayed behind) and (finished the job) is a synonymous version with (we stayed behind and we finished the job). We were always warned by our teachers not to mix both types because the first sentence is a simple sentence (Only one subject here but two predicates). The second sentence is compound because it has two subjects for each clause, hence "we". (even though it is the same for both).
I wonder what your opinion is!

Hello Learner33,

I think you are overcomplicating the issue here. The sentences are the same and the 'we' subject is not repeated for reasons of style, not grammar. It is a question of ellipsis - missing out one or more words which are not necessary because they are understood from the context. It does not change the underlying grammar of the sentence.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team