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Difference Between Simple and Complex Sentence

Simple vs Complex Sentence

Written or spoken English is made up of words strung together to make meaningful sentences. As such a sentence can be said to be a basic unit of communication that makes sense. A sentence can be simple, compound or complex. A simple sentence is a group of words with no extra phrases and it makes complete sense. It consists of a subject, a verb, and conveys a complete idea. Conjunctions are used to join two simple sentences to make a complex sentence. And is the simplest of conjunctions to make complex sentences. However, there are many more conjunctions that can be used for making complex sentences such as but, although, as, so, because, when, then and that.

Look at these examples.

Simple sentences have only one verb.

They have one main idea.

Complex sentences have two or more verbs.

They contain two or more clauses.

They contain more than one idea.

All these sentences are simple sentences. By joining the first two simple sentences, a complex sentence can be formed. Simple sentences have only one verb, and have one main idea. Similarly, the last three examples of simple sentences can be joined to make a complex sentence. Complex sentences have two or more verbs, consist of two or more clauses, and contain more than one idea.

In a complex sentence there is always an independent clause that could stand on its own, and a dependent clause that is linked to the independent clause to make a complex sentence. Roy was present at the station when the train arrived. Here Roy was present at the station is independent clause, and ‘the train arrived’ is a dependent clause that is joined using conjunction when to make a complex sentence. In a complex sentence, the dependent clause can come before or after the independent clause.

In brief:

• A simple sentence has one verb and a main idea and it can stand on its own

• A complex sentence is formed joining an independent clause (that can stand on its own) with a dependent clause using a conjunction.

• Complex sentences have two or more verbs, two or more clauses and more than one idea.


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