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Definition

There are four categories of sentences: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex

As you continue reading, I’ll show you how you can mix those two ingredients (the independent

A complex sentence is a sentence that contains an independent clause and a dependent clause

This sentence has an independent clause (“I put it in the microwave”) and a dependent clause (“Because

A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb

Those two terms, independent clause and simple sentence, mean the same thing

An independent clause includes a subject and a verb, and expresses a complete thought—just like a

A dependent clause also contains a subject and a verb, but does not express a complete thought

These relationships include cause/effect, time, place, condition, comparison, and concession

Did you notice the difference between these examples and the independent clauses?

With the independent clauses, we know what’s happening by the end of the sentence

This poor person, let’s call her Joanne, has had a lousy day

I wish we could find out if she at least got home safely on her forgotten birthday!

Complex sentences include an independent and at least one dependent clause

Though the dependent clause cannot stand alone as a sentence, it does add to the meaning of

In a complex sentence, the independent and dependent clauses can be put together in a variety of

(The dependent clause tells us why Joanne wanted to get home)

(The dependent clause tells us why Joanne was extra stressed and tired)

Dependent both before and after independent: In this format, a comma is required after the first dependent

(The dependent clause establishes a relationship of contrast with the independent clause)

(The dependent clauses tell us when Joanne experienced that sense)

While the independent clause doesn’t need the dependent clause to survive as a sentence, the dependent

Here are a couple more examples to let you know what ultimately happened at the end of

Take notice of their respective structures—the order of the independent (IC) and dependent clauses (DC), and

All the examples so far have shown complex sentences that include an independent clause and a dependent

In this format, the dependent clause should be surrounded with commas

If you remove it from the sentence, you’re left with an independent clause

While a complex sentence includes an independent and at least one dependent clause, a compound sentence includes

A semicolon has the combined power of both a period and a comma

The semicolon doesn’t create a full stop; it maintains a connection between the clauses, which is

You would use a semicolon when your independent clauses are closely related and you don’t want

Coordinating conjunctions connect words, phrases, or clauses that are of equal value, such as two independent clauses

A coordinating conjunction + comma combination has the power to connect—to hold together—two independent clauses

In each of the following examples, the coordinating conjunction + comma combination is in bold

A compound sentence, unlike a complex sentence, only includes independent clauses

The compound-complex sentence includes at least two independent clauses (remember: the complex sentence only has one) and

If you rely too much on one style of sentence, your work will become monotonous and take

And if you need a boost for your confidence while you’re still practicing, run your work

It will help you see where your sentence structure may be repetitive and offer suggestions for how

Although the example below provides some really interesting details, the structure is repetitive, in fact, all the

Try the Sentence Structure report with a free ProWritingAid account

Take the time to notice how other writers use simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences in their