Most everyone is familiar with the basic structure of a sentence. A sentence must have a subject and a verb, and it must express a complete thought. There are 4 types of sentence structures in English: simple, complex, compound, and compound-complex sentences. Each type of sentence structure has its own rules. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Note: Don’t confuse yourself with 4 types of sentences.
Understanding the 4 Types of Sentence Structure
A simple sentence is one with a subject and predicate in the same order. In other words, the subject comes before its verb and vice versa. Examples of simple sentences include:
- I like chocolate ice cream.
- My dog likes to eat grass.
- I am eating breakfast.
- He likes to play soccer.
A complex sentence has an independent clause and at least one dependent clause. An independent clause is a group of words that can stand alone as a sentence, while a dependent clause cannot. Dependent clauses are introduced by subordinating conjunctions; these include:
Examples of complex sentences include: “The city was built on a river and therefore it was flooded.” (independent clause) + “therefore” = “The city was built on a river, which makes it easy for floods to occur there.” (dependent clause) +” which”
- She returned the computer after she noticed it was damaged.
- Wherever you go, you can always find beauty.
- The museum was very interesting, as I expected.
Compound sentences have two or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) or a semicolon.
A compound sentence is an example of a well-formed sentence. It has a subject and predicate, and it contains at least one independent clause (or main clause). The other elements that can be found in compound sentences are called phrases, clauses, or words. For example, The flowers need water; I will water them. In this sentence, the two independent clauses are “The flowers need water” and “I will water them.” The coordinating conjunction “;” joins them.
- I wanted to go outside, but it was raining.
- He ran out of money, so he had to stop playing poker.
- I am counting my calories, yet I really want dessert.
Compound-complex sentences are those that have two or more independent clauses joined together by a coordinating conjunction, such as and. They can also be joined by a comma or semicolon:
- The independent clauses are joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) and the dependent clause(s) are inserted into the sentence with a subordinating conjunction.
- When I went to the store, my parents wanted me to pick up some milk, but I didn’t have enough money.
- The dog needed a new leash, and he couldn’t go for a walk until he had one.
- Even if the child is hungry, he will never eat oatmeal, but he will always eat ice cream.
Knowing the 4 types of sentence structure can help you to better organize your writing.
Knowing the different types of sentence structure can help you to better organize your writing.
Sentences are the building blocks of writing. They’re more than just words on a page, though—they also have functions, like being an adverb or pronoun in a sentence. Knowing how sentences differ from each other will help you improve your ability as a writer!
Although there are only 4 types of sentence structures, they can be combined in an infinite number of ways to create beautiful, poetic sentences. In order to create variety in your writing, challenge yourself to use as many different types of sentence structures as possible. Not only will this make your writing more interesting to read, but it will also force you to think more creatively about how to arrange your thoughts. So go forth and experiment with different types of sentence structures – the sky’s the limit!