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Types of Sentences: Simple, Compound, Complex and Compound-complex

Types of Sentences: Simple, Compound, Complex and Compound-complex

Are you someone wanting to know more about compound-complex, simple, compound, and complex sentences? Yes, we know that they are types of sentences, but individually have other characteristics too. Keep reading to know more about these types of sentences!

Simple Sentence:

A simple sentence is a group of words that has a subject, a verb, and delivers a complete thought. Another name for a simple sentence is an independent clause.

For example:

  • I am a student.
In this sentence, Subject: I and  Verb: am

In this sentence, Subject: I and Verb: speak

  • Nick opened the door.
In this sentence, Subject: Nick and Verb: door 

  • He ate her lunch. 
In this sentence, Subject: He and Verb: ate 

  • They are having pizza for dinner tonight 
In this sentence, Subject: They and Verb: are having 

  • Mom cooked dinner. 
In the above mentioned sentence, Subject: Mom and Verb:cooked
We can see how there are no conjunctions at the beginning or end of these groups of words, so they are showcasing a complete thought making all of them simple sentences.

Simple Sentence with a Compound Subject:

A simple sentence can have a compound subject, that means two different people or things are doing the same action.

For example:

  • Winston and Davis are working on the project.
In this sentence, Subjects: Winston, Davis and Verb: are working 

  • Nick and Zoe are having orange juice.
In this sentence, Subjects: Nick, Zoe and Verb: are having

  • Mom and Dad cooked dinner.
In this sentence, Subjects: Mom, Dad and Verb: cooked


In this situation, two people are doing the same action, making it a compound subject. In the second sentence, “Mom” and “Dad” are linked together by the coordinating conjunction “and” being the reason why we call it a simple sentence with compound subjects because there are two or more people or things doing the same action. The conjunctions connected the subjects, so this is a complete thought. Coordinating conjunctions can be remembered by the famous acronym FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So).

Simple Sentence with a Compound Predicate:

A simple sentence can have a compound predicate, which means the subject or subjects of the sentence are doing two or more different things or actions.

For example:

  • Shawn worked on the project and completed it.
In this sentence, Subject: Shawn and Verbs: worked and completed

  • Nick ate pasta and washed the dishes.
In the sentence, Subject: Nick and Verbs: ate and washed

  • Mom cooked dinner and cleaned the kitchen
In the sentence mentioned above, Subject: Mom and Verbs: cooked and cleaned.

In these sentences, the two verb phrases are linked together by the coordinating conjunction “and”; this makes this simple sentence have a compound predicate. The conjunctions in these sentences connect the verb phrases, which means that this is a complete thought. So we know that these groups of words can stand on their own because they have a subject, verb, and a complete thought.

Compound Sentence:

A compound sentence has two or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction.

For example:

  • I am a doctor. My friend is a teacher.
These are two independent clauses and can stand on their own; however, we will add conjunction to form a compound sentence.

  • I am a doctor, and my friend is a teacher.
  • She tried to lift her bag. It was too heavy.
  • She did not bring her lunch, so she ordered through the app.  
  • I want to go to work, but I am tired.


Words like and, but, so are called coordinating conjunctions. Another important thing when we connect these independent clauses is we add a comma after the first clause before adding the conjunction with the second clause. Then, we have a compound sentence.

Complex Sentences:

A complex sentence has dependent, and independent clauses joined by a conjunction.

For example:

  • When i got home from school yesterday
This is a dependent clause as it does not express a complete thought and cannot stand on its own. To make it complete, we have to add an independent clause.

  • When I got home from school yesterday, I watched TV for an hour. 
  • I love to travel, because I get to meet a lot of interesting people. 
In this example, one can notice how ‘I love to travel’ is an independent clause, and then it is joined by a dependent clause ‘because I get to meet a lot of interesting people, ’ making it a complex sentence.
  • Although he was wealthy, still he was unhappy. 
Dependent clauses start with the linking verbs like ‘when, because, even though’; these conjunctions are called subordinating conjunctions. If the dependent clause comes first, we put a comma after it, then write the independent clause.
  • When we buy her birthday cake, we have to make sure it’s chocolate.
In this example as well, ‘we have to make sure it’s chocolate’ can stand on its own, making it an independent clause; however, ‘when we buy his birthday cake’ depends on the last clause and cannot stand on its own.

Compound – Complex Sentence:

As the name suggests, a mixture of compound and complex sentences makes a complex-compound sentence. A compound-complex sentence has more than one independent clause, and one or more dependent clauses joined by the exact coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS).

For example:

  • I was crazy about pop music when I was younger, but I’m more into jazz now.
The first clause is independent, and then there is a dependent clause, then coordinating conjunction, but then another dependent clause.
Another example:

  • If it rains tomorrow, bring your umbrella, or you might catch a cold.
In this example, if it rains tomorrow is a dependent clause, bring your umbrella is an independent clause, or is coordinating conjunction, and then you might catch a cold is an independent clause.
  • After the rain stopped, I went outside, and I picked flowers.
In this example, ‘after the rain stopped’ is a dependent clause and does not give a proper meaning; however, the latter group of words, ‘I went outside’ and ‘I picked flowers,’ are independent clauses and can stand on their own.

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With over 3 years of experience in teaching, Chloe is very deeply connected with the topics that talk about the educational and general aspects of a student's life. Her writing has been very helpful for students to gain a better understanding of their academics and personal well-being. I’m also open to any suggestions that you might have! Please reach out to me at chloedaniel402 [at]