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How To Identify and Differentiate Simple, Compound, Complex, and Compound-complex Sentences?

Simple Sentence comprises subject and predicate

The subject is a noun/pronoun (name of a person place or a thing)

A predicate is the part of a sentence or clause containing a verb and stating something about the subject.

Simple sentences usually disclose one piece of information.

Examples of simple sentences

  • Ayesha is a doctor. Here ‘Ayesha’ is a subject whereas the remaining part of that sentence is the predicate.
  • Aiza goes to school daily. Here Aiza is a subject.
  • She turned the light on.
  • She manipulated the story.
  • I agree with you.
  • Zoya waited for the bus so long.
  • John and I opened all the gifts.
  • She changed the light bulb.
  • Ayesha doesn’t like teaching English.

Moreover, a simple sentence can have two subjects or two verbs.

Likewise, Ayesha and Rida don’t like teaching English.

Here in the abovementioned sentence, Ayesha and Rida are two subjects.

Ayesha doesn’t like teaching and drawing.

Here in this sentence, teaching and drawing are two verbs together in a simple sentence.

Some more examples

  • My parents and I went to a movie.
  • Mrs. Faiq and Mr. Suleiman are dancing gracefully.
  • Ali is a worker in a company.
  • My mother hemmed and hawed over where to go for dinner.
  • He was eating and talking.
  • I rinsed and dried the clothes.
  • Nuzhat stood up and spoke to the crowd.
  • Bushra is moody and temperamental.

Compound sentences

In a compound sentence, two simple sentences are joined by a conjunction (and, so, but, if, while, whereas, when)

A compound sentence has at least two independent clauses.

Source: Grammer Monster.

Examples of compound sentences

  • Ayesha attended the birthday function but she doesn’t like hanging out with friends.
  • Aliya was dazed and confused but she’s O.K.
  • Ali denied the allegations of robbery but he’s feeling miserable inside.

Also Read: Most Common Prepositions And Their Use

Complex sentences

One simple way to recognize a complex sentence is that a complex sentence begins with conjunction and the ideas are separated by a comma.

A complex sentence has at least one independent clause and one dependent clause.

Source: Grammer Monster.

Examples of complex sentences

Although Ayesha was a good teacher, she couldn’t cook the food properly.

If Ayesha would be there, she would have cleaned the house.

As she turned the bulb, a bulk of electricity shocked her.

All these examples display two different sentences split by a comma and started with conjunction.

Compound-complex sentences

A compound-complex sentence has two or more independent clauses and one(or more) dependent clause.


  • While the rain fell, the girl slept and dreamed and the father cooked the meal.

We can also write the same sentence like that…

  • The father cooked the meal and the girl slept and dreamed while the rain fell.

About Noshin Bashir

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