Simple, Compound, And Complex Sentences: Grammar Lesson

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Lesson Overview

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn about different types of sentences: simple, compound, and complex.
  2. Practice identifying and creating sentences of each type.
  3. Understand how combining clauses can make sentences more interesting.
  4. Recognize common mistakes and know how to fix them.
  5. Improve writing by using a variety of sentence types effectively.

Introduction to Simple, Compound And Complex Sentences

Ready to become a sentence-building pro? Let's explore simple, compound, and complex sentences!

Simple sentences are like single building blocks. They have one subject (the doer) and one verb (the action).

Compound sentences are two building blocks joined together. They have two subjects and verbs, linked by words like "and" or "but."

Complex sentences are like multi-level buildings. They have one subject and verb, with extra parts called clauses that give more information. Words like "because," "since," and "although" connect these parts

Get ready to build amazing sentences! This guide will give you the tools to create simple, compound, and complex sentences that help you share your ideas and tell great stories.

What Are Simple, Compound And Complex Sentences?

A sentence is a word puzzle, piecing together a subject, verb, and other words to create a clear and complete idea. Like the perfect jigsaw, each piece contributes to the whole picture, making sentences the essential tool for effective communication and writing.

Did you know that sentences come in different types? Learning about them will help you write better.

Let's check out the three main types of sentences!

Simple Sentence

A simple sentence contains a single independent clause with a subject and a verb. It expresses a complete thought and can stand alone.

For example: "She reads a book."

(The subject is "She," the verb is "reads," and together they form the independent clause.)

Compound Sentence

A compound sentence is made up of two or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) or a semicolon. Each clause can stand alone as a complete sentence.

For example: "She reads a book; he watches a movie."

(There are two independent clauses here: "She reads a book" and "he watches a movie." They are connected using a semicolon, which makes this a compound sentence.)

Complex Sentence

A complex sentence consists of one independent clause and at least one dependent clause, which cannot stand alone. The clauses are connected using subordinating conjunctions (because, although, before, since, unless, while, etc.) or relative pronouns (who, which, that).

For example: "She reads a book because she enjoys learning."

(The main clause is "She reads a book," and the dependent clause is "because she enjoys learning." The subordinating conjunction "because" connects the two clauses, making it a complex sentence.)

Before we start and go into depth, let's go through some important words that will help us better understand what we're learning today.

SubjectThe main thing or person a sentence is aboutThe dog chased the ball.
VerbThe action or state of being of the subjectThe dog ran after the ball.
ObjectThe receiver of the action of the verb (optional)The dog chased the ball.
AdjectiveA word that describes a specific quality of a noun or pronounThe brown dog chased the red ball.
AdverbA word that describes a verb, adjective, or another adverb, often focusing on how, when, where, or to what extentThe dog chased the ball quickly.
PrepositionA word that shows the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in the sentence, indicating location, direction, or timeThe dog chased the ball under the table.
PronounA word that takes the place of a noun to avoid repetitionHe chased the ball. (He refers to the dog mentioned earlier)
ClauseA group of words with a subject and a verb that can function as a complete sentence (independent clause) or part of a sentence (dependent clause)The dog chased the ball is a complete clause.
PhraseA group of words that does not have a subject and verb and functions as a unit.Running in the park is a phrase.

How to Navigate Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences

Simple Sentences

  1. A simple sentence has a subject (who or what it's about) and a verb (what they do or are).
  2. It's a complete thought that makes sense on its own.
  3. You can add extra words, but you don't have to.


  • She reads a book. (Subject: She, Verb: reads)
  • The dog barks loudly. (Subject: The dog, Verb: barks)
  • He enjoys playing soccer. (Subject: He, Verb: enjoys)
  • The rain stops suddenly. (Subject: The rain, Verb: stops)

Compound Sentences

  1. A compound sentence has at least two complete parts, each with a subject and verb.
  2. You can join the parts with words like "and" or "but," or use a semicolon (;).
  3. Each part should make sense on its own.


  • She reads a book, and he watches a movie. (Independent Clause 1: She reads a book, Independent Clause 2: he watches a movie, Conjunction: and)
  • I study hard for my test; she studies hard for her test. (Independent Clause 1: I study hard for my test, Independent Clause 2: she studies hard for her test, Conjunction: semicolon)
  • They go to the park, but we stay at home. (Independent Clause 1: They go to the park, Independent Clause 2: we stay at home, Conjunction: but)
  • He likes chocolate ice cream, yet she prefers vanilla. (Independent Clause 1: He likes chocolate ice cream, Independent Clause 2: she prefers vanilla, Conjunction: yet)

Complex Sentences

  1. A complex sentence has one complete part and one extra part that adds more information.
  2. Extra parts start with words like "because," "although," or "since."
  3. All parts together make a complete thought.
  4. These rules should help school students understand different sentence types and create better sentences in their writing.


  • She reads a book because she enjoys learning. (Independent Clause: She reads a book, Dependent Clause: because she enjoys learning, Subordinating Conjunction: because)
  • Although it was raining, we went to the park. (Dependent Clause: Although it was raining, Independent Clause: we went to the park, Subordinating Conjunction: Although)
  • We will go to the beach if it is sunny. (Independent Clause: We will go to the beach, Dependent Clause: if it is sunny, Subordinating Conjunction: if)
  • You can join the club as long as you follow the rules. (Independent Clause: You can join the club, Dependent Clause: as long as you follow the rules, Subordinating Conjunction: as long as)

Test Your Knowledge

What are Some Special Cases and Exceptions in Sentence Structures?

While the rules for simple, compound, and complex sentences generally apply, there can be some exceptions or special cases. Here are a few examples:

Simple Sentences

Imperative sentences

These sentences give commands or make requests, and the subject is usually implied.

For example: "Please close the door." The subject "you" is implied.

Interrogative sentences

Questions can sometimes be simple sentences, with the subject placed after the verb.

For example: "Is she reading a book?"

Compound Sentences

Some compound sentences can include more than two independent clauses, as long as they are properly connected with coordinating conjunctions or semicolons.

For example: "She reads a book; he watches a movie; they enjoy their free time."

Occasionally, a semicolon might be used to separate items in a list if the items contain commas, even if the clauses are not independent.

Complex Sentences

Some sentences may contain multiple dependent clauses, making them even more complex.

For example: "She reads a book because she enjoys learning, although she also likes watching movies."

In some cases, a dependent clause can precede the independent clause.

For example: "Because she enjoys learning, she reads a book."

It's important to remember that these exceptions should be used appropriately, and it's always crucial to ensure your sentences are clear and coherent.

Exercise 1: Identify the Type of Sentence

She dances gracefully, and she sings beautifully.

  • Sentence Type: Compound Sentence
  • Main Clause 1: She dances gracefully.
  • Main Clause 2: She sings beautifully.

Although it was raining heavily, we decided to go for a picnic.

  • Sentence Type: Complex Sentence
  • Main Clause: We decided to go for a picnic.
  • Subordinate Clause: Although it was raining heavily

He studied hard, yet he failed the exam.

  • Sentence Type: Compound Sentence
  • Main Clause 1: He studied hard.
  • Main Clause 2: He failed the exam.

Exercise 2: Combine the Sentences to Form Compound Sentences

I watched a movie last night. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

  • Compound Sentence: Last night, I watched a movie, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

The party was crowded. I felt uncomfortable.

  • Compound Sentence: Since the party was crowded, I felt uncomfortable.

She loves dancing. She practices every day.

  • Compound Sentence: Because she loves dancing, she practices every day.

Exercise 3: Combine the Sentences to Form Complex Sentences

The sun was shining brightly. We decided to go for a walk.

  • Compound Sentence: Since the sun was shining brightly, we decided to go for a walk.

He missed the train. He had to take a taxi.

  • Compound Sentence: Because he missed the train, he had to take a taxi.

She didn't study for the exam. She failed it.

  • Compound Sentence: Since she didn't study for the exam, she failed it

Test Your Knowledge


Great job on learning about simple, compound, and complex sentences! Knowing these rules will help you become a better writer and communicator. As you continue to practice, pay attention to how these sentence structures appear in the things you read and in your conversations with friends. Remember, improving your language skills is a journey, and there's always more to learn. Keep exploring and expanding your knowledge, and soon you'll be crafting amazing sentences that make your writing come alive. Enjoy the adventure and keep up the good work!

For Further Reading

  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Sentence Transitions
  • Sentence Fragments and Run-Ons
  • Punctuations
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