Sentence Types, Clauses, and Phrases
four kinds of basic sentences in English: simple,
is a group of words with a subject and a verb that functions as a part or all of
a complete sentence. There are two kinds of clauses: independent (main) and
dependent (subordinate). Both
of these have a subject
but only the independent clause is a complete sentence.
I have the money. [a complete sentence]
When I have the money. [a fragment or incomplete sentence]
clause is a group of words with a subject and verb that depends on the main
clause to give it meaning. One type of dependent clause is called a relative
clause. A relative clause begins with a relative pronoun, a pronoun such as that,
Relative pronouns relate the clause to a noun in the sentence.
was very dark. [a fragment]
She bought a
suit, which was very dark. [independent + dependent/relative clause]
A phrase is
a group of words that go together. It differs from a clause in that a phrase
does not have a subject and a verb. There are different types of phrases: prepositional
(in the house), verbal
(to go home), participial
(disconnected from the printer), and gerund phrase (using the computer).
sentence may have a compound subject and/or compound verbs and many phrases. ex:
She and my brother went to the store and drove to
the mall to buy furniture for the house across the street.
sentence includes a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS = for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) that joins the two independent
clauses. There is a comma before the conjunction. ex: She bought some roses, and
he bought some tires. It is also possible to join the two independent
clauses with a semicolon instead of a coordinating conjunction.
A complex sentence includes a comma if the dependent clause begins the sentence. ex: Because he was tired, he went to bed. However, if the dependent clause follows the independent clause, there is no comma. ex: He went to bed because he was tired.