Want to learn more about what a simple sentence is and how to use one? This article will teach you everything you need to know to build beautiful simple sentences to use in your writing.
This guide is part of our free online Grammar Book.
Before we understand a simple sentence, it's important to ensure we've got the basics covered. So, what is a sentence? That's an easy one. At the very least, a sentence is made up of a subject and a predicate.
There's only one exception where a sentence doesn't need a subject, and that's with imperative sentences, which can consist of one verb only ("Sit."). Other than that, you're sure always to find, at the very least, a subject and predicate in every sentence.
You'll also find at least one clause.
Sometimes there are direct and indirect objects.
I mentioned earlier that a sentence must contain at least one clause. And that's all a simple sentence needs. If there is more than one clause, it's no longer a simple sentence.
There are two types of clauses:
In order to stand alone, a clause must be independent. That's why simple sentences consist of just one independent clause. You can't have any dependent clauses in a simple sentence because, by nature, they're designed to complement another clause. And if there is more than one clause, it's definitely a different type of sentence (see the following section).
Here are some examples of these types of sentences:
She has a doctor's appointment at noon.
I like to read before I go to sleep at night.
My kids love playing together.
Let's take those same examples and add a dependent clause to them, so you can see what they would look like if they were no longer simple sentences:
She has a doctor's appointment at noon and it's already 11am.
I like to read before I go to sleep at night but I don't always have time.
My kids love playing together because they enjoy the same games.
Simple sentences can cover all sentence function types, whether declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, or imperative.
Here's an example of each:
The sunrises on the island are just beautiful.
Which chair would you like to sit on?
I can't believe you didn't tell me!
Join me on the dancefloor, Sally.
Remember that although simple sentences consist of just one clause, they can contain compound subjects, predicates, and direct and indirect objects. All this is to say that they can look pretty complex while still falling under the category of simple sentences.
Here's an example:
Zoe, Jack and Billy have been throwing each other the ball for hours now.
This single independent clause contains the compound subjects 'Zoe, Jack, and Billy,' the direct object 'ball' and the indirect object 'each other.' We could complicate things even further by using a compound predicate:
Zoe, Jack and Billy have been throwing each other the ball without dropping it for hours now.
As well as simple sentences, there are three other types of sentence structure.
That concludes this article on simple sentences. I hope you found it helpful.
Let's summarize what we've learned:
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