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.





I've just read this sentence.
Impressionists took an interest in the daily lives of ordinary people in the cities, which were expanding in both size and in their range of culture and entertainment.

So I'm wondering now if it's ok to use 'both A and B' this way.
A frog can live in both water and on land.

Thanks a lot and have a nice day;)

Hello Gary_Lee,

Yes, it's fine to use that form. Your example is correct.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter,

Could you please tell (say?) whether they following constructions are grammatically accurate and clarify the differences in terms of time references:

1. It is a small price (sleepless night with a small baby) to pay for mum TO HAVE HAD such a wonderful time.

2. It is a small price (sleepless night with a small baby) to pay for mum HAVING HAD such a wonderful time.

3. It is a small price (sleepless night with a small baby) to pay for mum HAVING such a wonderful time.

4. It is a small price (sleepless night with a small baby) to pay for mum TO HAVE such a wonderful time.

Thank you very much!

Warm wishes,

Hi Sir,
My class has been struggling in some transformations of sentences and my teacher assigned me the task to find the answer for the hard transformation.It is as listed below:

1.Complex to simple
Sentence: Tell me when and where you were born.

Waiting for a reply

Hello Sharvesh,

For this kind of question, please ask your teacher. Our primary role here is to help people use our site or answer questions related to what's on LearnEnglish. Occasionally we answer other questions, but for questions related to what you're doing in class, you should ask your teacher.

Thank you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I understand your point but even my teacher could not convert it and she wanted me to clarify it for the whole class via the internet

Hello Sharvesh Jayakumar,

I would guess that the intended form is as follows:

Tell me the time and place of your birth.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

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.