Easy Learning English

Sentences and clauses - Easy Learning Grammar

A clause is a group of words which contains a verb. The verb in a clause can be finite
  • Use this pan for the pasta.
  • He missed the turnoff.
or non-finite.
  • To cook pasta, always use a large pan.
  • Dreaming about Jenny, he missed the turnoff.

Simple sentences

Simple sentences consist of one clause, in which the verb is finite.
  • Ann went to the bank.
  • She withdrew £100.
Two or more clauses can be joined to make a compound sentence or a complex sentence.

Complex sentences

Complex sentences are those that contain a subordinate clause as well as a main clause.
  • When he arrives, I’ll phone you.
  • He stayed at home because he felt ill.
A subordinate clause is one that contains special information about the main clause. It will usually be introduced by a linking word such as when, if, because, or that. The linking words are called subordinating conjunctions.Most subordinate clauses can come before, after, or within the main clause. Usually, when one clause is of principal importance and the other clause gives information about the principal one, we have a complex sentence with one main clause and one subordinate clause.
  • The position that a subordinate clause is placed in is determined largely by what is felt to be the main message of a sentence.
  • Since you seem to have made up your mind, I’ll say no more.
  • I stopped seeing her because she moved to Liverpool.

Compound sentences

A compound sentence is one that consists of two main clauses, joined by a word such as and, but, or or, called a coordinating conjunction. Each clause is of equal importance and gives information of equal value. The order of the clauses can be very important for the meaning. For example, the timing of an action can be described by the order in which the clauses follow each other.
  • He picked it up and ran over to her.
  • He ran over to her and picked it up.
  • I drove to Coatbridge and went on to Stirling.

Compound-complex sentences

These have more than one main clause and at least one subordinate clause.
  • Angie came over and we decided to use my car because hers was playing up.
  • He ran over to Julie, who was sitting at the end of the bench, and grabbed her handbag.

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