Sentences in English

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Mastering sentence structure and grammar is essential for effective communication. In this reference, we will explore what a sentence is, and the different types of sentences by structure and intention, provide examples for each type, and offer tips on how to improve your sentence writing skills.

What is a sentence?

Sentences are groups words that express a complete thought. A sentence consists of a subject, a verb, and sometimes an object, and it always ends with a punctuation mark (period, question mark, or exclamation mark). Your subject is the person, place, or thing that the sentence is about, and your verb is the action or state of being.

For example, "I love pizza" is a sentence because it has a subject (I), a verb (love), and a complete thought (pizza).

Understanding sentence structure and grammar

The structure of a sentence plays a crucial role in conveying the intended meaning. A sentence can be simple, compound, or complex, depending on the number of clauses it contains. A clause consists of several words that include a subject and a verb.

  • In a simple sentence, there is only one independent clause
  • In a compound sentence, there are two or more clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction
  • In a complex sentence, there is one independent clause and one (or more) dependent clauses.
  • In a compound-complex sentence, expect to see two (or more) independent clauses, plus one (or several) dependent clause(s).

Grammar rules also play a significant role in sentence structure. For example, subject-verb agreement and proper use of tenses are essential in constructing grammatically correct sentences. Using correct punctuation, such as commas, semicolons, and colons, also helps in making the sentence clear and easy to understand.

Types of sentences by structure

Simple sentence

A simple sentence has a single independent clause. It is the most basic type of sentence and is used to convey a straightforward idea.

Here are five examples of simple sentences:

  1. She sings beautifully.
  2. He ran to the store.
  3. They are happy.
  4. The sun is shining.
  5. The cat meows loudly.

Compound sentence

A compound sentence comes with two or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction. It is used to connect two related ideas.

Here are five examples of compound sentences:

  1. I like pizza, but my friend prefers tacos.
  2. She studied hard for the exam, so she passed with flying colors.
  3. He loves to play basketball, and he is also good at it.
  4. The movie was excellent, but the ending was disappointing.
  5. She wants to travel the world, so she is saving up money.

Complex sentence

A complex sentence includes an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. It is used to convey a more complex idea that requires additional information.

Here are five examples of complex sentences:

  1. Although it was raining, he still went for a jog.
  2. She didn't study for the test, which is why she failed.
  3. Because he was tired, he went to bed early.
  4. Even though she was scared, she still went bungee jumping.
  5. Since it was her birthday, she received lots of gifts.

Compound-complex sentence sentence

Compound-complex sentences include two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses. It is used to combine two related ideas that require additional information.

Here are five examples of compound-complex sentences:

  1. I wanted to go out, but I had too much homework, so I stayed home.
  2. She had a great time at the party, but she ate too much cake, which made her feel sick.
  3. He was tired from working all day, so he didn't go to the gym, although he wanted to.
  4. The movie was funny, but it was also quite long, so many people left before it ended.
  5. Although she was nervous about the presentation, she still did a great job since she had practiced a lot beforehand.

Types of sentences by intention

Sentences in English

Declarative sentence

A declarative sentence makes a statement. It is used to convey information or express an opinion.

Here are five examples of declarative sentences:

  1. The sky is blue.
  2. I love to read books.
  3. She is a great singer.
  4. The movie was boring.
  5. They live in a big house.

Imperative sentence

An imperative sentence communicates a command or helps make a request. It is used to tell someone what to do or not to do.

Here are five examples of imperative sentences:

  1. Please turn off the lights.
  2. Don't touch that hot stove.
  3. Be quiet in the library.
  4. Clean your room before you go out.
  5. Open the window, it's hot in here.

Exclamatory sentence

An exclamatory sentence expresses strong emotion. It is used to convey excitement, surprise, or anger.

Here are five examples of exclamatory sentences:

  1. What a beautiful sunset!
  2. I can't believe I won the lottery!
  3. That movie was so scary!
  4. You scared me!
  5. I hate this traffic!

Interrogative sentence

An interrogative sentence asks a question. It is used to seek information or clarification.

Here are five examples of interrogative sentences:

  1. What time is the meeting?
  2. Have you seen my keys?
  3. Where did you go on vacation?
  4. Why are you so sad?
  5. How do you cook this dish?


Grammar rules for making sentences

Subject-verb agreement

Every sentence must have both of these components in order for it to be complete. Additionally, the verb must agree with the subject in terms of number and tense. For example, if the subject is singular, then the verb should also be in its singular form. So, "She plays" is correct while "She play" is not.

Similarly, the verb should be conjugated according to the tense of the sentence. So, "She plays" is correct in the present tense, while "She played" is correct in the past tense.

Capitalization and punctuation

Each sentence has to start with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark. Punctuation marks such as commas, periods, and question marks are used to indicate pauses or the end of a sentence. Additionally, all sentences should start with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark.

For example, "She plays the piano" is a complete sentence while "she plays the piano" is not, implying it's a clause or part of another sentence.

Run-on sentences

Run-on sentences occur when two complete sentences are joined together without any punctuation. This can make a sentence difficult to read and understand. To avoid this, you should use the appropriate punctuation marks to separate two independent clauses. For example, "She plays the piano she sings" is a run-on sentence while "She plays the piano, and she sings" is not.

Sentence fragments

Sentence fragments are incomplete sentences without a subject, verb, or both. To fix this, you should add the missing components and make it into a complete sentence. For example, "In the park" is a sentence fragment while "She is walking in the park" is not.

Incomplete sentences can be confusing and make it difficult for the reader or listener to understand your message. A complete sentence helps to convey a complete thought, making it easier for the reader or listener to understand the intended meaning.


Understanding sentence structure and grammar is fundamental to writing coherent and effective sentences. There are different types of sentences by structure and intention, and it is important to use complete sentences to convey a complete thought. By following the tips outlined in this reference, you can improve your sentence-writing skills and quickly learn to create great sentences. Good luck on this journey!

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Angelique FrazierNov 16th, 2023
Clear explanations about sentence structures