Popular Posts


Tuesday, July 19, 2016



One way that we categorize sentences is by their structure. When we do that, we have four different types of sentences.

Before we tackle the topic of sentence structure, we need to make sure that you know about clauses.

A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb. There are two main types of clauses. 
·  Independent clauses express complete thoughts. (I love cookies.
·  Dependent clauses don't express complete thoughts. They must be connected to independent clauses in order to make sense. (If I love cookies)
There are only four sentence structures, and all four of them are formed from combinations of those two kinds of clauses. Wow! That's crazy.

Here They Are
1. Simple sentences contain just one independent clause.
I kicked the ball.

Here is a sentence diagram of a simple sentence. Notice that there is just one horizontal line.

2. Compound sentences contain two or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction.
I kicked the ball, and it hit Tom.

Here is a sentence diagram of a compound sentence. Notice that there are now two horizontal lines and the bottom one is directly under the top one.
Bonus Tip: In order to be a compound sentence, a group of words must contain two or more independent clauses. For example, the following sentence is not a compound sentence.
Kristin and Kate walked to the park.
That sentence does contain a compound subject (Kristin, Kate), but since it only has one clause, it's not considered a compound sentence. It's a simple sentence!

3. Complex sentences have an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.
Tom cried because the ball hit him.

In this diagram, there are two horizontal lines again, but notice that one of them is below the other and to the right. Do you see how this looks different from the compound sentence diagram?

4. Compound-complex sentences have two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
Tom cried because the ball hit him, and I immediately apologized.

In this diagram, we have three horizontal lines! Do you see how this diagram is a combination of the last two diagrams?
If you really want to understand sentence structure (and have some fun), I highly recommend learning how to diagram sentences. When you diagram sentences, you make the relationships between words visual.

No comments:

Post a Comment