Sentence Structure

Sentence structure refers to the way that sentences are constructed in terms of words, phrases and clauses. A clause is a group of words in a sentence that contains a subject and a verb. For example, in the sentence “I love to read books”, “I” is the subject and “love to read books” is the verb.

The three basic types of sentence structures we’ll look at are:

  • Simple Sentences
  • Compound Sentence
  • Complex Sentence

Simple Sentences

Simple sentences are concise and straightforward, consisting of a single independent clause. They are useful for conveying clear and direct statements. 

  • Use simple sentences to express simple ideas or present facts in a clear and concise manner.
  • Keep the subject and verb close together to maintain clarity and avoid confusion.
  • Vary sentence length to avoid monotony and create a rhythmic flow.

An example of a simple sentence is: “She ran through the park.”

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences consist of two or more independent clauses connected by coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or) or semicolons. They allow you to connect related ideas and add complexity to your writing. 

  • Use compound sentences to show relationships between ideas or present contrasting viewpoints.
  • Ensure that each independent clause can stand alone as a complete sentence.
  • Connect the independent clauses with coordinating conjunctions or semicolons.

An example of a compound sentence is: “She ran through the park and he followed closely behind.”

Complex Sentences

Complex sentences contain one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. Dependent clauses cannot stand alone as complete sentences and rely on the independent clause for meaning. 

  • Use complex sentences to provide additional information, express cause and effect, or show relationships between ideas.
  • Place the dependent clause before or after the independent clause, ensuring the sentence remains coherent.
  • Use subordinating conjunctions (e.g., because, although, if) to introduce dependent clauses.

An example of a complex sentence is: “Although it was raining, she continued to run through the park.”

Tips for Using Sentence Structures Effectively

Combine Sentence Types – Use a mix of simple, compound and complex sentences to add depth and variety to your writing.

Vary Sentence Length – Alternate between short and long sentences to create a rhythmic flow and maintain reader engagement.

Consider Context – Adapt your sentence structures to fit the purpose and tone of your writing. Formal writing may require more complex sentences, while informal writing can incorporate a greater number of simple sentences.

Edit for Clarity – Ensure that each sentence is clear and effectively conveys your intended meaning. Revise sentences that may be overly complicated or confusing.

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