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Types of Sentences
Sentence - a unit of language that is marked by a capital letter at the beginning and final punctuation at the end (a period, an exclamation point, or a question mark). In English, a sentence is as simple as a subject and a verb, but it could be as complex as containing multiple clauses and many units of punctuation (commas, colons, semicolon, dashes, quotation marks, etc.).
- Example: The tree is alive.
- Example: The tree, which grows taller every year, is alive and well this summer season; however, it hasn't rained yet this month, and I fear it will not do well with a longer drought.
Clause - a unit of language that is contained by punctuation. There are two types of clauses: independent and dependent.
- Independent clause - a unit of language that contains a subject and a verb, which therefore, can act as a complete simple sentence.
- The tree is a live.
- The tree [...] is alive and well this summer season.
- It hasn't rained yet this month.
- I fear it will not do well with a longer drought.
- Dependent clause - a unit of language that cannot exist on its own because it acts as a modifying component to an independent clause.
- ...which grows taller every year...
The Four Types of Sentences
A simple sentence contains one independent clause with no dependent clause.
- Example: The sky is blue.
- Example: Her hair is brown.
- Example: It was a great day.
A compound sentence contains multiple independent clauses but not dependent clauses. Independent clauses can be joined in two main ways:
- by a comma and a coordinating conjunction
- Michigan's capital is Lansing, and it's state bird is the robin.
- Michigan's capital is Lansing, but it's most populous area is Detroit.
- by a semi-colon
- Michigan's capital is Lansing; it's state bird is the robin.
- Michigan's capital is Lansing; it's most populous area, however, is Detroit
A complex sentence contains an independent clause with at least one dependent clause.
- Example: Grand Valley, which is a liberal arts university, offers students a diverse learning experience.
- Example: At Grand Valley, students can take a wide variety of classes before they graduate.
- Example: Even if it means prolonging graduation, many students try out a couple of majors before picking one.
The compound-complex sentence contains multiple independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
- Example: English sentences come in a variety of forms, which can sometimes be really difficult to learn, especially if one is an adult, yet the complexity of the language makes it really beautiful.
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