Types of Sentences
A complete sentence contains at least two parts:
More complicated sentences may also include:
- Phrases (i.e. prepositional phrases beginning with "in," "of," or "for")
- Clauses (i.e. relative clauses such as "which" clauses)
Sentences fall into three main types:
- Simple sentence
- Compound sentence
- Complex sentence
Use these different types of sentences to make your style more varied.
- Simple sentence: A simple sentence contains one subject and one verb:
Example: Martin Luther King Jr. died in 1968.SubjectVerbPrepositional PhraseMartin Luther King, Jr.diedin 1968.
Example: Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Civil Rights movement.SubjectVerbObjectMartin Luther King, Jr.ledthe Civil Rights movement.
- Compound sentence: A compound sentence joins together two complete simple sentences with a comma and conjunction (i.e. "and," "but," or "or"):
Example: Martin Luther King, Jr. led the movement, but many southern whites opposed him.Subject 1Verb 1ObjectComma + ConjunctionSubject 2Verb 2ObjectMartin Luther King, Jr.ledthe civil rights movement, butmany southern whitesopposedhim.
- Complex sentence: A complex sentence begins with a word like "although," "if" or "because." A complex sentence contains one complete simple sentence (called the "independent clause," and one incomplete simple sentence (called the "dependent" clause because it depends on the other clause to complete the thought). Use a comma to join the two clauses.
Example: Though Martin Luther King, Jr. died in 1968, he inspires many today.Dependent ClauseCommaIndependent ClauseThough Martin Luther King, Jr. died in 1968,he inspires many today
The complex sentence can also be flipped around:
Example: Martin Luther King, Jr. inspires many today, though he died in 1968.Independent ClauseCommaDependent ClauseMartin Luther King, Jr. inspires many today,though he died in 1968.