Grammar & Compositions >> Message Writing

SENTENCES: SIMPLE, COMPOUND AND COMPLEX

Examine the following sentence:-
Raman won the first prize in English.
The sentence contains only one Subject, Raman and one Finite Verb, won. Such a sentence as this, which has only one Subject and one Finite Verb, is called a Simple Sentence.

A Simple Sentence is one which has only one Subject and one Finite Verb.

Examine the following sentences:-
1. The way was long and the night was dark.
2. He went to the window and looked out, but saw nobody.
The first sentence consists of two parts:-
i) The way was long.
ii) The night was dark.
The two parts are joined together by the Co-ordinating Conjunction and.

Each part is a Clause, because each part has a Subject and a Predicate of its own, and each part is a sentence which is a part of a larger sentence.

We further notice that each Clause makes good sense by itself, and hence can stand alone as a complete sentence. Each Clause is, therefore, independent of the other, or of the same order or rank. Such a clause is called a Co-ordinate Clause.

Such a sentence as the first, which is made up of clauses of equal rank, is called a Compound Sentence.

The second sentence is also a Compound Sentence. It is made up of three clauses of equal rank, viz. :
i) He went to the window.
ii) (He) looked out.
iii) (He) saw nobody.

A Compound Sentence is one that is made up of two or more Co-ordinate Clauses.

NOTE: The term Double is now used for a sentence that is made up of two Co-ordinate Clauses. The term Multiple is used for a sentence consisting of more than two Co-ordinate Clauses.

Examine the following sentences:-
I don't know where he stays.
This sentence consists of two parts:-
i) I don't know.
ii) Where he stays.
Each part has a Subject and a Predicate of its own and forms part of a larger sentence. Each part is, therefore, a Clause.

We further notice that the Clause, I don't know, makes good sense by itself, and can, therefore, stand alone as a complete sentence. Such a Clause is called the Principal or Main Clause.

But the Clause, where he stays, does not make good sense by itself and cannot stand alone.

It is dependent for its full meaning upon the Principal Clause, I don’t know. It is, therefore, called a Dependent or Subordinate Clause.

Such a sentence as this, which is made up of one Principal Clause and one or more Subordinate Clauses, is called a Complex Sentence.

A Complex Sentence is one that is made up of one Principal Clause and one or more Subordinate Clauses.

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