Types of sentences

 

 

Basic English. Parts of Speech. Sentences

 

Types of Sentences

There are four types of sentences defined according to the number and types of clauses making up the sentence.

 

 

Simple Sentences

A simple sentence consists of one independent clause and contains no dependent clauses.

  • Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States.

In this sentence, there is only one independent clause.

 

Compound Sentences

A compound sentence consists of two or more independent clauses and no dependent clauses.

  • Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States and Ottawa is the capital of Canada.

U.S. Capital Building, Washington, D.C. (Credit: Martin Falbisoner, Creative Commons 3.0)

U.S. Capital Building, Washington, D.C. (Credit: Martin Falbisoner, Creative Commons 3.0)

 

In this sentence, the first independent clause is “Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States.” The second independent clause is “Ottawa is the capital of Canada.”

 

Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Canada (W. Lloyd MacKenzie, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/saffron_blaze/)

Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Canada (W. Lloyd MacKenzie, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/saffron_blaze/)

 

Neither clause is more important than the other. Both can stand alone as sentences. The coordinating conjunction ‘and’ joins the two independent clauses to form one intact grammatical unit.

 

Complex Sentences

A complex sentence consists of one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.

  • Canberra, which has a population of approximately 400,000, is the capital of Australia.

 

Old Parliament House, Canberra, Australia (jjharrison89@facebook.com)

Old Parliament House, Canberra, Australia (jjharrison89@facebook.com)

 

In this sentence, the independent clause is “Canberra … is the capital of Australia.”  The dependent clause “which has a population of approximately 400,000” provides more information about the independent clause.

 

Compound-Complex Sentences

A compound-complex sentence has two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.

  • Wellington, which is the capital of New Zealand, is in the North Island and Christchurch, the third largest city in New Zealand, is in the South Island.

Wellington, New Zealand (Photo credit: Aidan, Creative Commons 2.0)

Wellington, New Zealand (Photo credit: Aidan, Creative Commons 2.0)

 

In this sentence, ‘Wellington …is in the North Island’ is one independent clause.  The other independent clause is ‘Christchurch is in the South Island.’ The dependent clause is “which is the capital of New Zealand” referring to the independent clause “Wellington is in the North Island.”

 

Christchurch, New Zealand (Credit: P.Staider, Creative Commons 3.0)

Christchurch, New Zealand (Credit: P.Staider, Creative Commons 3.0)