A simple sentence is made up of a subject and a verb, and together they are a complete thought. They are independent clauses. They are independent because they can stand on their own.
Here are examples.
I am waiting.
Where are you?
I am eating with Tim at the diner.
I will be in the lobby around the corner where there are couches.
Simple sentences can be used to break up chunks of writing that have several long sentences, though they don’t have to be super short. Avoid having more than a couple of simple sentences in a row unless you are using it to create a certain sound or mood.
A compound sentence is made up of two independent clauses (two complete sentences), but they are connected to one another with a coordinating conjunction. These are listed below. They can be remembered with the acronym, FANBOYS. A comma is placed before the conjunction.
I was waiting, but George and Tim were leisurely eating dinner.
Tim was having steak, and George was eating chicken.
I was not happy about waiting, or maybe I was wishing for dinner too.
Even though these are longer sentences, you still don’t want to just write with these. You shouldn’t use more than a couple in a row unless you are doing it for a good reason.
A complex sentence is made up of an independent clause and at least one dependent clause. A dependent clause can have a subject and verb, but it’s not a complete thought. It leaves you hanging. It needs something else. It depends on something else to make it a sentence.
These are dependent clauses:
- because we were already there
- while I am waiting
- if this is all there is
- when we get home
There are nouns and there are verbs. There are no complete thoughts.
The underlined words are called subordinating conjunctions. Here is a list of some, notice that prepositions can act as these conjunctions (like”after” and “before.”)
after, although, as, because, before, even though, if, since, though, unless, until, when, wherever, while
A complex sentence joins together an independent clause with at least one dependent clauses. It doesn’t matter what order they go in. If you start with a dependent clause, it is followed by a comma. If you start with an independent clause. There is no comma.
Here are examples of complex sentences.
I decided to wait because I was already there.
While I was waiting, I decided to look around.
If this is all there is, I would run out of options quickly.
I‘ll put all this away once we arrive back home.