- Sentences are of three kinds according to their structure – Simple, Complex and Compound.
- A simple sentence has only one main clause.
- A complex sentence has one main clause and one or more sub-ordinate clause dependent on that main clause.
- A compound sentence has at least two main or independent clauses (called co-ordinate clauses) and may or may not have sub-ordinate clause.
|Sentence||Main/Independent Clause||Sub-ordinate/ Dependent Clause|
|Complex||Only One||One or more|
|Compound||Two or more||Does not matter|
Let’s have an example. Main clauses are in red and sub clauses are in green.
- Simple: Despite his illness, Rohit attended the class.
- Complex: Though Rohit was ill, he attended the class.
- Compound: Rohit was ill, but he attended the class.
- “Despite his illness” is not a clause as it has no finite verb. It is a phrase.
- “Though” is a sub-ordinate conjunction. A sub-ordinate conjunction connects a sub-clause to the main clause. A sub-ordinate clause begins with a sub-ordinate conjunction.
- “But” is a co-ordinate conjunction. A co-ordinate conjunction connects two or more similar clauses, but it not being part of clauses, remains independent.
- So, whenever you need to make a complex sentence use a sub-ordinate conjunction and to make a compound sentence use a co-ordinate conjunction. Given below are the lists of commonly used conjunctions (linkers).
Linkers to make Complex Sentence (Sub-ordinate Conjunctions):
That: We know that he is a good student.
Though: Though he worked hard, he failed to get a position.
Although: Although it was hard, he did it.
As (manner): Do as you like.
As (reason) As she worked hard, she got the reward.
As (after adjective, means ‘though’): Poor as he is, he is honest.
Because: He cannot join us because he is busy.
Since (reason): Since it’s raining, we cannot go out.
When: I was there when he came.
Where: This is the place where I met him.
Before: The train had left before we reached the station.
After: He came after I had left the place.
While: Make hay while the sun shines.
Till: Wait till 4 pm.
Until: Do not go out until I return.
If: If you work hard, you’ll reap the benefit.
Unless: Unless you help us, the project would fail.
Lest: The man tried to walk faster, lest he be left behind.
If / Whether: She wanted to know whether (if) I was ready to accompany her.
So that: Keep the door open so that anyone can come.
In order that: He worked hard in order that he could pass the test.
So … that: This poem is so easy that it needs no explanation.
As … as: Subir is as strong as Prabir.
So … as: Subir is not so strong as Rohit.
As soon as: As soon as I saw the snake, I started screaming.
No sooner … than: No sooner did I see the snake than I started screaming.
Hardly … when: Hardly had we left the house when it started raining.
The more … the more: The more he gets, the more he wants.
Linkers to make Compound Sentence (Co-ordinate Conjunctions):
And: He played well and got a prize.
But: She is sad but hopeful.
Or: Work hard or you will fail.
And so: He tried hard and so he won the game.
Yet: Life is full of tears, yet none wishes to die.
Still: He worked hard, still he failed.
Otherwise: Be attentive, otherwise you’ll miss the idea.
While: He failed while his brother passed.
Whereas: He is rich whereas his brother is poor.
Both … and: Both Rahul and his brother are intelligent.
As well as: Rina as well as his brother is honest.
Either … or: He is either a teacher or a doctor.
Neither … nor: He is neither a teacher nor a doctor.
Not only … but also: He is not only a teacher but also an author.
Now, that you have learnt the linkers to make complex and compound sentences, we will now concentrate on simple sentence.
Elements to make Simple Sentences:
- Present Participle (Verb + ing):
- Opening the drawer, he took out the packet.
- Having our dinner, we went to bed.
- Past Participle (Verb3):
- We were enjoying the song sung by the bauls.
- A book written by Ratanlal won the national award.
- Perfect Participle (having/being + Verb3):
- Being punished by the principal, the boy left the school.
- Having finished my task, I went to sleep.
- Infinitive (To + Verb):
- He is not afraid to speak the truth.
- He had been working hard to score big in the final.
- Gerund (V+ing as a noun) / Preposition + Gerund:
- On hearing a noise, he woke up.
- Seeing is believing.
- Preposition + Noun (or noun phrase):
- In spite of his illness, he attended the class.
- I couldn’t attend the class for my illness.
- Besides getting him a job, they also built a house for him.
- Absolute Phrase (Noun + Participle):
- The sun having risen, the fox disappeared.
- The match being abandoned, we left the field disheartened.
- Phrase in Apposition (two noun phrases side by side referring to the same person or thing):
- Tom, my faithful dog, always accompanies me.
- Rimi, my sister, likes ice-cream.
So, now that you know how simple, complex and compound sentences are constructed, you can join two different sentences into a single simple, complex or compound sentence, and also can transform a simple sentence into complex, a compound sentence into simple and so on.