sentence structure

 

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

 

Comments

Which one is correct "she knows my credit card number" or "she knows my credit card's number"? And please give me some explanation about the posession structure.

Hello Barita Bram,

We can say this in several ways:

she knows my credit card number

she knows my credit card's number

she knows the number of my credit card

All have the same meaning and are grammatically correct. However, what is correct is one question; what is normal (common or accepted) usage is a different question. Although the second option (with 's) is not incorrect, it is not standard usage. In modern English the first and the third are the normal ways to express this.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Which one of those sentences is correct. It's always useful to know what employer's preferences or it's always useful to know employer's preferences

Hello Dragon,

The second one is correct. The first one could be if you inserted the word are at the end.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi The Learn English Team,
Should we use comma for every conjuction sentences and also start with small letter?
She speaks fluent English, although she has always lived in France, because her mother was American and her father was Nigerian.This is also correct?
Thanks

Hello sassha,

The use of commas is not so rule-bound as that. Though there are some grammatical constructions which always have commas (non-defining relative clauses, for example), for the most part in English the use of commas is quite flexible. Some linking devices are often used without commas (for example 'and', 'but', 'so', 'because'), while others often or always have commas around them (for example 'however', 'nevertheless', 'in addition') - you need to learn this on a case-by-case basis.

Your example sentence is correct.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team.

Thanks Kirk, Which one of those sentences is correct and why? - Our intention is to be on site this afternoon or our intention to be in site this afternoon. If for example I say John smiled, does this means he smiled on the past or it means he is right now smiling

Although a few snakes are dangerous most of them are quite harmless . Why we used the article a before few while snakes are plural

Hi Dragon,

'a few' can mean 'some', is used with countable nouns and has a positive meaning, whereas 'few' has a more negative or restrictive meaning, something like 'almost none'. You can see an explanation of this on our Countable & Uncountable nouns 2 page and in the dictionary entry for 'few' and 'a few'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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