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

Is there any place around the site where I can look at conjunctions or connectors as "it being the case that" and "whereas that"? Examples of usage will be helpful.

The usage of Being the case that is the same that including "it" at the begining of the connector?

Thanks

Hello MayelaM,

The first phrase seems fine to me, though it is quite formal. The second phrase ('whereas that') does not strike me as a natural English phrase. Do you have an example of its use?

I don't think we've got a page devoted to those phrases in particular. We do have pages dealing with other linking phrases, such as this page, however.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Trying to use "whereas that" as in a comparision, I'm wondering if I might say:

Why is the increase proposed by the Comission a 60% of the total whereas that proposed by the individual is only 30% ? or it is better to say : Why is the increase proposed by the Comission a 60% of the total whereas the one proposed by the individual is only 30%?

Looking around on the internet for conjunctions, I read the phrases:

"It is we who supervise, whereas that is not the case with the President of the Council." In this case, has whereas that the same meaning that whereas? that's means, "that" is the subject and not part of the conjunction?

Why is it that the Commission is proposing for Portugal, for example, 40 % aid whereas that proposed for Spain or Italy is 60 % of that proposed for Greece?

In the above phrase, I understand that the Portugal might receive 40% of the 100% of the aid acording the Commission; Greece proposed X amount from which Spain or Italy proposed only a 60%. Is this a right understanding? or is "that" part of the conjunction and give a different meaning to the phrase?

Just wondering whether "whereas that" exits as conjunction ...

Thanks!

Hello MayelaM,

There is a conjunction 'whereas', but 'that' here is simply part of the next part of the sentence. 'Whereas' is a subordinating conjunction and so can appear in different positions in the sentence:

The increase proposed by the Comission is 60% of the total whereas that proposed by the individual is only 30%.

Whereas the increase proposed by the Comission is 60% of the total, that proposed by the individual is only 30%.

The meaning of the example you provide is as you said, but note that all the proposals come from the commission, not from the countries.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Her father was a Nigerian. Her mother was an American. These are describedas an adverbial clause above but i think these two can also be marked as a main clause. Am i right??

Hello Sannaa,

Yes, that is correct. It depends upon their function in the sentence. It is quite possible for them to function as main clauses if the sentence is different. For example:

Her mother was Nigerian because she was born there.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

My question is on colon.
1. From his lecture: I could not understand the theme of it.
2. I do not support his opinion: it is a quite vague idea.
3. I like three traits of an employee: honesty, candid, and punctuality.
Please tell me if I have used colon correctly.

Hello Luck4090,

We generally use the colon in English in quite specific ways. You can see a list of them with examples on this page. The most common use is to introduce some kind of evidence or proof of the statement before the colon.

In your first example the colon is not appropriate. We would probably say 'In relation to his lecture, I could not...' or 'As far as his lecture went, I could not...', with the former being more formal, and the latter less.

You second example would read better with a semicolon, which can be used to join related sentences.

Your third sentence is fine. We can use a colon to introduce a list.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
Please rectify colon usage.
1. Wikipedia: a portal with ton of information on every topic.
2. Thankyou for your correction and guidance Peter:an intelligent tutor.
Many thanks,

hi, I really like this website. I wanted to ask you a sentence: As is common in Iraqi tribes, members come from both the main denominations. My question is that I don't know where is the subject of a clause 'As is common in Iraqi tribes. thank you in advance.

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