Best Sentence Structure Examples

Sentence Structure
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Sentence Structure

A sentence can be identified according to its structure. The four different types of structures are: Simple sentence, compound sentence, complex sentence, and compound-complex sentence. A simple sentence is made up of just an independent clause. An independent clause is a clause that can stand by itself. Here’s an example: “It rained yesterday.” We have a subject here, “it”, and a verb, “reigned”. The sentence isn’t dependent on anything else to be a complete sentence.

It’s a sentence in its own right, because it can stand alone. “It rained yesterday” is a grammatically correct sentence. We call that an independent clause. Now, a compound sentence is made up of two or more independent clauses. I’m just going to write here “IC” for “independent clause”. An example of a compound sentence is: “She likes to eat fruit and I like to eat vegetables.” Notice here that we have a subject and verb (She likes to eat fruit) and a subject and a verb (I like to eat vegetables).

This is an independent sentence, because it could be a sentence by itself, and this is an independent sentence, because we could just say, “I like to eat vegetables.” That’s a sentence by itself. Notice here, we have them joined together by a comma and the conjunction “and”. There are a few ways you can join two independent clauses together. One is by that example right there, by a comma and a conjunction. “And” is a conjunction, as well as words like “for”, “but”, “so”, and “yet”.

Then, we can also join two independent clauses by just a semicolon. Right here, we could take out the comma and “and” and just put a semicolon. It’s less common, but it’s still grammatically correct. Another way is just to put a conjunction with no comma. Now, that wouldn’t really be grammatically correct in this sentence right here. I’m going to show you a sentence in a little bit where this would be appropriate. You only need to do that when you have two short independent clauses being joined together.

Now, the third thing is structure is a complex sentence. It has one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. I’m going to write here “independent clause and at least one dependent clause”. The example of that is: “Because I like to drink milk, my bones are very strong.” Here, you see the subject “I” and the verb “like”. You have “I like to drink milk.” You have a subject and a verb, but this is not a complete sentence.

This is a dependent clause because of this word right here: “Because”. If you were to say, “Because I like to drink milk,” that wouldn’t be a complete sentence. You need something else to it to finish it out. That’s why we call this a dependent clause, because it’s dependent on another clause to be complete. Here, on the other side of this comma, we have an independent clause. We have a subject, “bones”, and a verb, “are”. “My bones are very strong” can stand alone.

It’s joined together with this dependent clause with a comma. Dependent clauses can also come after the independent clause and you could have more than one deep in that clause in a complex sentence. A dependent clause is usually introduced by a relative pronoun, such as “who”, “which”, “that”, or something else like that, or a subordinating conjunction, like “although”, “because”, or “when”.

Finally, we get to the fourth sentence structure, which is a compound-complex sentence, which is two or more independent clauses plus one or more dependent clauses. We have two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause. The example of that is: “The plane arrived and we took off, because we were already late.” Right here, we have “plane” as the subject and “arrived” as the verb. Here, we have “we” as the subject and “took” as the verb.

This is an independent clause right here, because it can stand alone, and this is an independent clause. Right here, we have a dependent clause. Again, we have a subject and we have a verb. “We” and “were” are the subject and verb here, but this is not an independent clause. If we were to take the word “because” off, it would be an independent clause. “We were already late.” Because of the word “because”, it’s now a dependent clause.

Right here, you may be thinking we have two independent clauses here joined by just a conjunction and no comma, because what you’re used to seeing is a comma right here, which that is appropriate. We could also just put a semicolon right here. It would also be appropriate to join the two independent clauses, but we could actually not use a semicolon and we could not use a comma and just have a conjunction.

This is one of the cases where, like I was saying earlier, you just need a conjunction, because you have two short independent clauses. Again, the four sentence structure types are: The simple sentence, the compound sentence, the complex sentence, and the compound-complex sentence.

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Last updated: 07/17/2018


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