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.

 

Section: 

Comments

Hi Kirk, thank you for everything. Have a great rest of the week.

Best wishes
Alyson

Hi,
What kind of sentence is one with one subject, many finite verbs, but no conjunctions? For example, 'The man walked to the shop, got his groceries, then went home'. As the subject only occurs once, I guess this sentence only has one clause, in which case it's a simple sentence?

Hello bretfrag,

This is an example of a compound sentence in which the same subject is used in several clauses. It is common (but not required) to omit the subject in such cases. Where there is a different subject we must use either a co-ordinating conjunction or (in a more literary context) a semicolon:

The man walked to the shop and his friend paid for his groceries.

The man walked to the shop; his friend paid for his groceries.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your reply, Peter.

I guess I'm still slightly confused, because every definition of an independent clause I've found states that they can only be linked with coordinating conjunction or semicolons, while in my example above commas are used. Does this mean my sentence is non-standard? I also thought a clause has to have a subject, although I guess in my example the subject would be considered ellipted?

Hello bretfrag,

When the sentence has multiple clauses it is standard to use a conjunction before only the final one. This is a common pattern in English whenever we are dealing with a list.

The subjects are omitted to avoid repetition, so this is ellipsis as you say. If we include all of the conjunctions and subjects then we end up with a horrible sentence, stylistically speaking:

 

The man walked to the shop and the man got his groceries and then the man went home.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Is this question a subject or object question: How many of Edison`s lightbulbs didn`t work?

The question above is based off of this sentence: Thomas Edison, told his colleagues: "Of the 200 light bulbs that didn`t work, every failure told me something I was able to incoporate into the next attempt"

The first question is finding object: How many ideas did Benjamin Franklin have that didn`t work? but is the second question an object or subject question: How many of Benjamin Franklin`s ideas didn`t work? (text book is saying both is correct)

The questions above is based on this sentence: Benjamin Franklin, the US statesman and scientist once said: "I have failed, I have had 10,000 ideas that didn`t work?

Can you give me the reasons regarding the above along with the answer.

Thank you.

Hello browniestuff21,

That's a lot of questions! There are no numbers next to the questions you wrote, but I'm going to give them numbers in the order they appear. There are three by my count (although there is a question mark in the last one, it's not really a question). 1 and 3 are subject questions -- 'lightbulbs' and 'ideas' are the subjects of the verb 'didn't work'. In 2, 'Benjamin Franklin' is the subject of ´have', which is the main verb. 'didn't work' is the verb of the relative pronoun 'that', which refers to 'ideas'.

Does that help? If you have any other questions, please separate them so that it's easier to know what you are referring to.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

sorry there are no parenthesis in my 2nd question. just a question

Wow that was quick. Thank you so much. I do have another questions, please see in parenthesis:

Sentence :.Thomas Edison, told his colleagues: "Of the 200 light bulbs that didn`t work, every failure told me something I was able to incoporate into the next attempt"

Is "every failure" the object?

Thank you again.

Best wishes
Alyson

Hello Alyson,

'every failure' is the subject of the verb 'told'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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