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, I'm a first year English student. First of all, I'd like to say that this website is amazing, and everybody is doing a great job. I have personally found this website very insightful. Thanks for the good work.
My question is the following; we've had a quiz in the Written Expression module, and this sentence sort of boggled me: Supposedly, it means domestic pets are the most vulnerable category to suffer from cruelty; also, it might mean cruelty towards animals is a result of pet owners demonstrating their anger, frustration, or stress on the closest and most defenseless creatures.
I considered it as a compound sentence, which was wrong. So if anyone of the tutors in here could further explain this sentence to me and its type, it'd be very helpful. Thanks in advance.

Hello Abderezzak,

Thank you for your lovely comments!

I'm afraid we don't comment on tasks from elsewhere. There are several reasons for this. First, we don't want to take the place of other teachers. Second, we don't want to do people's homework or tests for them. Third, we don't know the aims of the test or the context in which it is used - it might be intended to test a certain aspect in a certain way following a certain lesson, and we cannot know this. This is a question for your teacher, who is responsible for the module and should be able to explain why the answer is what it is.

We're happy to provide help on the information on our own pages, of course, or on more general aspects of English.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter,
Thank you for the brief explanation. It is duly noted and understood. I will reach the teacher to explain the whole matter.

Hi Sir ;

For the following senteces , can we use "where"

We are going to introduce new requirements where we navigate to the system .....

Could you tell me the document where you put the comment ?.

If it is not right , tell me please correct pronun .

Hello pumbi,

The first sentence sounds a bit odd to me. It might be OK, but without knowing how the new requirements and the new system navigation are related, it's difficult to say for sure.

The second one is grammatical and makes sense to me.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Sir ;

Following sentence is right ?.

That was the first time which I ate crabs.

Here I used which to join two sentences. and I consider "That was the first time" is a situation and to describe a situation, I used "which".

Am I correct sir ?.


Hi pumbi,

We do not use 'which' in this way, I'm afraid. The alternatives are 'when', 'that' or to not use a relative pronoun:

That was the first time when I ate crabs.

That was the first time that I ate crabs.

That was the first time I ate crabs.

We can replace 'when' and 'where' with 'which' in some sentences but a preposition is required: 'in which', 'to which', 'on which' etc. However, the time or place referred to must be such that it has an implied preposition. For example:

I went to the house where I was born.

I went to the house in which I was born.

The problem with your example is that 'the first time' does not have an implied preposition. We do not say 'at the first time' or 'in the first time'; we simply say 'the first time'. Therefore we cannot use 'which' in this example.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

"The given line graph depicts the trend of reading books among men and women at Burnaby Library from 2011 to 2014."
Is the above sentence grammatically correct, I doubt the use of the word among/amongst in the sentence?

Hi ca.kulwinder,

The use of 'among' here is fine. 'Amongst' would also be correct.

You might change the word order slightly: 'The line graph given' rather than 'The given line graph' would be more common. However, the sentence is correct as it stands.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team