Types of Sentences
A sentence is a complete thought (also called an independent clause) containing a subject and a predicate. There are four sentence types: simple, compound, complex, and compound complex. Varying sentence structure within a piece of writing helps keep the reader engaged. Too many sentences written in the same manner can cause the reader to start skimming.
Simple Sentences are independent clauses utilizing only one subject/predicate structure.
- Josef loves pizza.
- Josef loves pizza for breakfast. (A prepositional phrase may be added.)
- Josef and Yolanda love pizza. (A compound subject is acceptable.)
- Josef loves pizza and eats it for breakfast. (A compound predicate is acceptable.)
- Josef and Yolanda love pizza and eat it for breakfast. (Both a compound subject and predicate is acceptable.)
Compound Sentences combine two sentences into one.
- Josef loves pizza, but Yolanda prefers spaghetti. (Use of a coordinating conjunction FANBOYS.)
- Josef loves pizza; Yolanda prefers spaghetti. (Use of a semi-colon. This structure should only be used if the sentences are short and highly related.)
- Rosa is willing to pay for the pizza; nevertheless, Rafael will warm up last night’s spaghetti. (Conjunctive adverb. Use a semi-colon in front and a comma after.)
Complex Sentences use both a dependent clause and an independent clause.
- Although Rosa is willing to pay for the pizza, Rafael will warm up last night’s spaghetti.
- Rafael chooses to warm up last night’s spaghetti because he does not like pizza.
Compound/Complex Sentences have two or more independent clauses and one dependent clause.
- Because Rosa is willing to pay for the pizza, Rafael decided not to warm up the spaghetti, and he will eat with her tonight.
Identify the sentences per their type
- If Doug wants a new car, he’ll have to get a second job. _____________
- Doug’s new car cost a lot of money. _______________
- Doug loves his new car, but his mom thinks he paid too much. ______________
- He borrowed money from her. ________________
- . Since he started working the second job, he’s had less time to party, and he misses being with his friends. ________________
The indicative mood expresses an assertion, denial, or question.
Example: He is not vacationing in Spain.
The imperative mood expresses command, prohibition, entreaty, or advice.
Example: Go visit him.
The subjunctive mood expresses doubt or something contrary to fact.
Example: If I were working in Spain, I’d appreciate visits from family members.
A declarative sentence is used to make a statement.
Example: I like your shoes.
An imperative sentence is used to make a request or demand
Example: Give me your shoes.
An interrogative sentence is used to ask a question.
Example: Where did you get your shoes?
An exclamatory sentence - used to make an exclamation:
Example: It is past time to throw away those smelly socks!
There are two kinds of clauses.
The independent clause is a simple sentence containing a subject and a predicate.
Example: Anya thinks she has too much homework.
The dependent clause is information added to the sentence by either a subordinate conjunction or a relative pronoun. Relative pronouns include who, which, that or whose.
- Anya, who thinks she has too much homework, is struggling to get it all done.
- Because Anya has too much homework, she struggles to get it all done.
A fragment is a grouping of words that do not form a complete thought. While fragments sometimes work in first person narrations, they do not belong in college or professional writing except in quotes. Often, in dialogue, this is appropriate.
Example: His mother scolded him when he finally got home. “About time!”
There is no subject or verb in the mother’s declaration. The subject “It” and the verb “is” is inferred.
There are five sentence beginnings that often create a fragment:
- To and a verb—To get to the nearest exit.
- Dependent words—Because I was late.
- “Ing” phrases—Hanging by a thread.
- Prepositions—Under the car seat.
- Examples and explanations—For example, ketchup and mustard.
Multiple ways exist to fix fragments:
- hooking up the fragment to the sentence before or after it (whichever one it seems to relate to), often using a comma, colon, or dash;
- adding the missing actor (noun) or action (verb); or
- fleshing out the thought to express what was previously not “spelled out.”
As an editing strategy, sometimes writers can spot fragments if they read the paper aloud from the last sentence back to the first.
The Run-On Sentence
There are two types of run-on sentences: a fused sentence and a comma splice.
The fused sentence has two complete thoughts next to each other without punctuation. The technical grammatical definition of a run-on sentence is one that fuses, or “runs together,” two or more independent clauses.
Incorrect: He ordered pizza for everyone he did not have the money to pay for it all.
The comma splice run on sentence has a comma separating the two complete thoughts.
Incorrect: He ordered pizza for everyone, he did not have the money to pay for it all.
Fixing run-on sentences
Once you find a run-on sentence and notice where the two independent clauses “collide,” you can then decide on how best to separate the clauses:
- You can make two complete sentences by inserting a period; this is the strongest level of separation.
- You can use a semicolon between the two clauses if they are of equal importance, and you want your reader to consider the points together. (See previous bullet point)
- You can use a semicolon with a transition word to indicate a specific relation between the two clauses.
- You can use a coordinating conjunction and a comma, also to indicate a relationship.
- Or, you can add a word to one clause to make it dependent.
Here are a variety of examples in correct sentence form:
- He ordered pizza for everyone. He did not have the money to pay for it all.
- He ordered pizza for everyone, but he did not have the money to pay for it all.
- He ordered pizza for everyone; he did not have the money to pay for it all.
- He ordered pizza for everyone; however, he did not have the money to pay for it all.
- He ordered pizza for everyone, although he did not have the money to pay for it all.