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The 4 Types of Sentence Structure

In What is a Sentence? we saw the minimum requirements for the formation of a sentence. Now we can look in more detail at the four types of sentence structure.

The 4 Types of Sentence

Simple Sentence Structure

A simple sentence consists of one independent clause. (An independent clause contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought.)

independent clause

Compound Sentence Structure

A compound sentence is two (or more) independent clauses joined by a conjunction or semi-colon. Each of these clauses could form a sentence alone.

independent clausecoordinating conjunctionindependent clause

There are seven coordinating conjunctions:

Complex Sentence Structure

A complex sentence consists of an independent clause plus a dependent clause. (A dependent clause starts with a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun, and contains a subject and verb, but does not express a complete thought.)

independent clausedependent clause

Here are some common subordinating conjunctions:

Here are the five basic relative pronouns:

Compound-Complex Sentence Structure

A compound-complex sentence consists of at least two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.

independent clausedependent clausecoordinating conjunctionindependent clause

A dependent clause is also called a subordinate clause.

The above sentences are basic examples only. In some cases other arrangements are possible (for example, a dependent clause can come before an independent clause).