Types of sentences

3 Types of Sentences | Simple, Complex, and Compound Sentences

Types of Sentences

Many of us know that sentences are divided into many categories, and we can divide sentences into three types according to their structure: simple, complex, and compound. Before knowing the definitions of all these sentences, we need to learn more about clauses and phrases. Let us see the definitions and examples of clauses and phrases in English grammar.


A clause consists of a group of words that contains a subject and a finite verb. To get a clear conception of clauses, let us see some examples:

  • I obey my responsibility.
  • My parents love me so much.
  • I have a daughter.
  • He is my favorite friend.
  • Austen cooks delicious food.

Note: All the sentences contain a subject and a finite verb.

Types of Clauses

Clauses are of three types. They are:

  1. Principal clause
  2. Subordinate clause
  3. Co-ordinate clause

1. Principal Clause

A clause that has independent meaning and can be used independently is called a principal clause. For example:

  • I know the boy very well.
  • He sees a bird.
  • She goes to the market.
  • Reema felt sick.
  • I love fast food.

2. Subordinate Clause

A subordinate clause is a clause with no independent meaning and cannot be used independently. A subordinate clause depends on other clauses to complete its purpose. For example:

  • Though he is poor, he is honest.
  • I know a boy who is a brilliant student.
  • I had a pen which I had lost.
  • He reads a book, though he doesn’t understand the meaning.
  • I love my mother, who loves me too.

All the underlined clauses are subordinate clauses because they do not have independent meanings and depend on principal clauses to complete their meanings. A subordinate clause consists of a clause marker.

3. Co-ordinate Clause

A clause that contains two principal clauses by joining conjunction (and, but, or) is called a coordinate clause. For example:

  • I have a friend, and we stay together in the hostel.
  • He is good at English, but he is not good enough at mathematics.
  • Study hard, or you will fail the examination.
  • She knew a person, and the person was a doctor.
  • I’m playing cricket, and my brother is watching the match.

All of the sentences contain two principal clause by joining appropriate conjunctions.


A phrase consists of words with no subject and a finite verb. A term does not have any independent meaning; instead, it’s part of a clause to serve as a meaningful unit. Let us see some examples:

  • Being a rational person, he understands the matter.
  • Walking in the street, he has reached his home.
  • I love my home decoration.
  • He is my brother’s friend.
  • Looking out the window, I see a beautiful bird.

Note: All the underlined phrases contain without a subject and a finite verb.

Simple, Complex, and Compound Sentences

We already know that sentences are divided into three types according to their structure. They are:

  1. Simple sentence
  2. Complex sentence
  3. Compound Sentence

Simple Sentence

A sentence containing one subject and one finite verb with an independent meaning is called a simple sentence. A simple sentence consists of one principal clause. For example:

  • The boy reads a novel.
  • He sings a melodious song.
  • She loves her mother.
  • Mr. Abraham came here to attend the meeting.
  • Jony started a business a few months ago.

Complex Sentence

A sentence that contains one principal clause and one or more subordinate clauses is called a complex sentence. For example:

  • I know a boy who is good at English.
  • He is working hard so that he can make a bright future.
  • Rony had a car that he bought from the market.
  • Though Selina was nervous, she attended the debate.
  • When I was a child, I played a lot of rural games.

Compound Sentence

A compound sentence contains two principal clauses or coordinate clauses with a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or). For example:

  • I am a teacher, and my brother is an athlete.
  • He is studying, and his friend is doing a part-time job.
  • Working hard, or you will fail to make a bright future.
  • Rima was a good student, but she failed the examination.
  • You can read the story, or you may leave it.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the different types of sentences is essential for mastering English grammar. By examining clauses and phrases, we can categorize sentences into three main types: simple, complex, and compound.

A simple sentence contains one subject and one finite verb, conveying an independent meaning. It is the most basic and straightforward type of sentence.

On the other hand, complex sentences incorporate one principal clause and one or more subordinate clauses. These subordinate clauses rely on the principal clause to complete their intended purpose.

Compound sentences feature two principal clauses or coordinate clauses, connected by coordinating conjunctions such as “and,” “but,” or “or.” These clauses provide equal importance and contribute to the sentence’s overall meaning.

Students can enhance their writing and communication skills by understanding these sentence types, clauses, and phrases. Mastery of sentence structure allows for more varied and effective expression, enabling individuals to convey their ideas clearly and concisely.

Therefore, by familiarizing ourselves with the distinctions between simple, complex, and compound sentences and the role of clauses and phrases, we can confidently and precisely navigate the complexities of English grammar.

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3 years ago

What is the difference between dependent clause and a phrase.

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