Grapvine-Colleyville Independent School District
Colleyville Heritage High School

Simple sentence: A sentence with one independent clause and no dependent clauses.

A simple sentence contains ONE idea. It contains a subject (who or what is being talked about) and a predicate (which tells something about the subject). A simple sentence can have two subjects (called a compound subject) or two predicates (called a compound predicate).

  • My aunt enjoyed taking the hayride with you.
  • China's Han Dynasty marked an official recognition of Confucianism.
  • Bill and Sam went to the market.
  • Bill turned the ignition and back out of the driveway.


Compound Sentence: A sentence with multiple independent clauses but no dependent clauses.

A compound sentence is two simple sentences joined together. These sentences can be joined by a comma-conjunction combination, a semi-colon, or (in special circumstances) a colon. 

  • The clown frightened the little girl, and she ran off screaming.
  • The Freedom Riders departed on May 4, 1961, and they were determined to travel through many southern states.
  • Bill and Ted went to the market; however, the market was closed.
  • She is an excellent cook: Her brownies are to die for.

 


Complex Sentence: A sentence with one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.

A complex sentence is a simple sentence plus one of the following tools: appositive phrase, participial phrase, adverb clause (or phrase), adjective clause (or phrase), or absolute phrase.

A simple sentence contains ONE idea. A complex sentence has TWO OR MORE ideas intermixed. A complex sentence can always be rewritten into two sentences. In the sentences below, the elements colored blue turn the sentence from being simple to complex:

  • After Mary added up all the sales, she discovered that the lemonade stand was 32 cents short
  • While all of his paintings are fascinating, Hieronymus Bosch's triptychs, full of mayhem and madness, are the real highlight of his art.

 


Complex-Compound Sentence: A sentence with multiple independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.

A compound-complex sentence is a compound sentence with at least one complex element (e.g., appositive phrase, participial phrase, adverb clause (or phrase), adjective clause (or phrase), or absolute phrase) attached. Compound-Complex sentences can get extremely lengthy.  

  • Catch-22 is widely regarded as Joseph Heller's best novel, and because Heller served in World War II, which the novel satirizes, the zany but savage wit of the novel packs an extra punch.