Types of Sentences


There are three main types of sentences:

  • Simple sentences
  • Conjoined sentences (also known as compound sentences)
  • Complex sentences


Simple sentences contain only one idea


  • Zubair fell.

Simple sentences comprise only one idea, clause and verb group. We say verb group (instead of verb) because a verb group itself can consist of one word (fell, assembled, cooked, won) or more than one word (will buy, had put, should have believed).

In short, simple sentences have:

  • subject and verb (and object/adjective/adverb)
  • only one idea
  • only one clause


  • He is happy. (Subject + verb + adjective)
  • She runs fast. (subject + verb + adverb)
  • They read books. (subject + verb + object)


Conjoined sentences have two (or more) clauses joined together using coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or …)


  • Zubair fell and twisted his ankle.

In short, conjoined (compound) sentences have:

  • two ideas joint by a coordinator/conjunction (e.g. and, or, so, but, yet …)
  • two clauses


  • He is happy and excited.

(= He is happy. + He is excited.)

  • She ran fast because she was scared.

(= She ran fast. She was scared.)

  • They borrowed books from the library but didn’t read them.

(=They borrowed books from the library. + They didn’t read the books.)


Complex sentences have embedded clauses. i.e. one clause is incorporated into another one

E.g. The clause

Zubair fell

can be incorporated into another clause to produce the sentence –

  • Latheef said Zubair fell.

Unlike in conjoined sentences, complex sentences contain clauses of unequal status. i.e. one clause is subordinated into another and functions as a grammatical part of it. The subordinate clause is called an embedded clause and the clause in which it is embedded is called a matrix clause.

Every subordinate clause is embedded in a matrix clause and serves a grammatical function in it.

In short, complex sentences have:

  • two (or more) clauses
  • a subordinate clause ( a clause embedded in the main/independent clause)
  • subordinate clauses begin with subordinate conjunctions (e.g. since, when, because, although, despite, as, while …)


  • She was eating when the telephone rang.
  • My teacher is angry because I didn’t do my homework.

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