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

hello,

During writing, the verb tense needs to be consistent or not?
How we know that we are writing tenses consistently?

How we know that we are writing the verb tense write?

Sometimes in the subordinate or advebial or adjective sentences, tenses are changed and cause confusion. Is it ok to change tenses?

Example: The man sitting on the floor was sick.
The man sitting on the foor is killed.

The book I read last year is stolen.
The book I read last year was stolen.

I mean to say that tenses can be changed during subordination, but the point is that how can we make sure that we are doing it right.

Please reply soon.

Hello Rox4090,

Tenses need to be consistent in a narrative. In other words, if you are telling a story and are using past forms then you should not suddenly switch to present forms. You need to be consistent so the events make sense. For example, in this story all the events are described using past forms:

The man went into the house and saw the thief. "Stop!" he shouted, but the thief had already seen him and was running towards the door.

 

However, that does not mean that you cannot use different verb forms when the things you are describing refer to different times. For example:

The man went into the house and saw the thief. "Stop!" he shouted, but the thief had already seen him and was running towards the door. I can still remember the look on his face.

The present form is used in the last sentence because the speaker is talking about the present (what he or she can remember now, as he or she speaks).

 

I can't really comment on the particular examples you gave because they have no context, and it is the context which determines whether the tense is appropriate or not.

 

Peter

The LeanEnglish Team

Thanks Peter.

The only thing I am confused about is tenses are different than the tenses of main sentences.

Please solve this mystery for me.

Regards,
Rox

Hello again Rox,

I don't think there's any inconsistency, but whether the sentences make sense will depend in large part upon the context in which they are used. For example:

The man sitting on the floor was sick.

This is a statement about the past. The participle has no inherent time reference; it takes its time reference from the main verb. In the sentence above it has a past time reference. If the main verb were a present form them the participle would have present time reference:

 

The man sitting on the floor is sick.

 

It would be perfectly fine to have two time references here if we use a main verb instead of a participle:

 

The man who was sitting on the floor is sick.

The man in this example is identified as the one who was sitting on the floor some time ago (ten minutes, a day, a week) and we are given information about his current state.

 

The man sitting on the foor is killed.

Again, there is no inconsistency. This reads like a narrative using present forms, which is a fairly popular style in fiction.

 

The book I read last year is stolen.

This is similar to the example above of the man sitting. We know the book is stolen; we do not know if this was true or not last year, when the speaker read it. Without a context it is unclear, and it may be that another verb form would fit better, such as the present perfect (...has been stolen).

 

The book I read last year was stolen.

The reading took place last year and the book was stolen at some point in the past. It may have been stolen before it was read or after. It is not clear – another example of why context is key.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,

please correct this sentence if it is grammatically incorrect.

"For any candidate to hold the office, it is mandatory that he or she has been selected by the group members who are eligible to select, and may hold the office for maximum three terms."

Thank you.

Hello Freelancer,

I'm afraid we don't provide a correction or proofreading service. We're happy to explain what we have on our pages or to try to answer questions relating to the English language and its systems, but we don't proofread or correct our users' work in this way.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter Sir,

Thank you for your quick reply. I got your point.
But, you can at least say whether it is correct or incorrect. And, your comment or explanation if possible.
Please help me. I write it again.

"For any candidate to hold the office, it is mandatory that he or she has been selected by the group members who are eligible to select, and may hold the office for maximum three terms."

Hi Freelancer,

Your sentence is intelligible and has no glaring grammatical errors. As Peter explained, we don't provide the kind of service, as it often requires extended commentary on our part. If you want to ask about a specific phrase or word, please feel free, but we simply don't have time to provide extended commentary on content not found on our site.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Kirk Sir & Peter Sir,

Thank you so much for your quick replies and comments, which are invaluable for me. I desperately want to improve my English. I have one more sentence that needs comments from experts like you.
I just want to know, what is wrong in the following sentence?

"For a president to hold the office, it is mandatory that he or she is elected by the citizens who are eligible to vote and that the president holds the office for two terms with each limited to four years."

Thanks again & regards,
Freelancer.

Hi Freelancer,

This looks like an exercise designed to get you to practise the subjunctive. After phrases like 'it is mandatory', many say that the verbs should go in the subjunctive. In this case, they would be 'be elected' and 'hold the office'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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