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Sentences

  • A sentence is a group of related words having a subject and a predicate, and capable of standing on its own and making complete sense.
Types of Sentences
  • A sentence is categorized into six types, according to the number of finite verbs it contains. They include:
  1. Simple Sentence
    • It is called a simple sentence because it contains one finite verb.
    • It expresses a single thought or statement.
    • For example:
      • John went home
      • The girl wept bitterly
      • The gardener, with a native hoe in one hand and a large stick in the other, swiftly killed the poor little goat about to enter grandfather’s cabin.
    • NOTE: The third sentence, which contains 25 words is still a simple sentence because it contains just one finite verb (killed) and expresses on thought (the gardener killed the goat)
  2. The Complex Sentence
    • A complex sentence is made up of at least one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses.
    • The subordinate clause is usually linked to the main clause by a subordinating conjunction such as: although because, before, when, if, as, after, unless, while
    • The man who came here yesterday is my uncle.
      • The two ideas denoted are:
        1. The man is my uncle
        2. who came here yesterday
      • Note that while (a) can stand on its own and make complete sense, (b) cannot stand on its own to make sense and must need to lean on (a) to complete or expand the sense of what is said in (a). Thus, it is known as a subordinate clause
    • For example:
      • She cleaned (main clause) while he washed (subordinate clause)
      • They arrived when she was sleeping
      • She fell asleep because she was tired
      • She goes wherever he goes
      • i hate to disappoint you
  3. The Compound Sentence
    • The compound sentence expresses two or more statements or thoughts.
    • It has two or more clauses and two or more finite verbs.
    • These clauses are usually linked by a coordinating conjunction such as: and, but, or, for, nor, yet, so (usually noted by the acronym ‘FANBOYS’)
    • For example:
      • The girls washed the clothes and the boys ironed them.
      • he slept on time but he woke up late
      • Patrick will repair the shoes or buy new ones
      • Chinwe either made the dress or bought it
      • Obi neither made the dress nor bought it
  4. Compound Complex Sentence
    • The compound complex sentence has three components: a compound sentence, a subordinator joining the compound sentence with the dependent idea of the sentence
    • Dick worked very hard for the examination, but failed, because he did not read the instruction well before he answered the questions
    • The above structure has: a compound sentence (Dick worked very hard, but failed), and adverbial clause of reason (because he did not read the instruction well), and yet another dependent adverbial clause of time (before he answered the questions).
    • The compound complex sentence then is structure that contains a compound sentence joined to one or more dependent clauses.
  5. Multiple Sentences
    • The multiple sentence contains three related independent clauses joined into a sentence by a coordinating conjunction and a semicolon/comma.
    • He came home, sat for a while, and left again.
    • the three independent clauses are:
      • He came home
      • (he) sat for a while
      • (he) left again
    • As you can see, each sentence above is capable of independent, separate, and meaningful existence.
    • In other words, each satisfies the requirements of a simple sentence that can separately stand on its own.
    • So therefore, multiple sentences are a structure linked to one another with a coordinating conjunction, and a semicolon/comma.
  6. Multiple Complex Sentences
    • A multiple complex sentence consists of three or more independent clauses and at least a dependent clause.
    • He came home; sat for a while, and left again because there was a note on his desk to report at the office
    • The structure making up the above are:
      • He came home
      • He sat for a while
      • He left again
      • because there was a note on his desk to report at the office
    • Following this, the structure consists of three or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clause.
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