A common weakness in writing is the lack of varied sentences. Sentence formation is one of the key ingredients to good writing. There are various forms of sentences you can use in your writing – simple, compound, complex and compound-complex. Becoming aware of three general types of sentences, it can help you vary the sentences in your writing.

Let’s take few examples:

I finished my work, and i ate breakfast

I finished my work before i ate breakfast

One of those sentence is compound, and one of them is complex. How you can tell the difference? Let’s start learning…..

  1. Simple Sentence

simple sentence has the most basic elements that make it a sentence: a subject, a verb, and a completed thought.

Example:  Asad waited for the bus

Subject= Asad  Verb= waited  and complete thought of the sentence. 

                  The train was late.
“The train” = subject, “was” = verb

                  I waited for Maria and samina at the bus station.

“I” = subject, “waited” = verb

 2. Compound Sentences

compound sentence refers to a sentence made up of two independent clauses (or complete sentences) connected to one another with a coordinating conjunction.

Lets first understand the coordinating conjunctions & Independent clause

Coordinating Conjunctions for Compound sentences

  • For
  • And
  • Nor
  • But
  • Or
  • Yet
  • So

Independent clauses

 The sentence has a subject and verb, and it stands by itself as a complete idea. This is an independent clause or a complete simple sentence.

Example: We ran to the bus.

Examples of compound sentences include the coordinating conjunctions & Independent clauses:

  1. Hamza waited for the train, but the train was late.
  2. The dog ran off, but I didn’t care.
  3. I am tall, yet she is short.
  4. I finished my work, and i ate breakfast

Note:  Coordinating conjunctions (but, yet, and, or. nor etc)  indicate some type of relationship between the two independent clauses in the sentence.

3. Complex Sentences

complex sentence is made up of an independent clause and dependent clauses . Remember, there is slight difference between independent and dependent clause. 

Examples of dependent clauses :

  1. Because Sami and Arif arrived at the bus station before noon
  2. after they left on the bus
  3. while he waited at the train station

Note: Dependent clauses such as those above cannot stand alone as a sentence, but they can be added to an independent clause to form a complex sentence.

Dependent clauses always begin with subordinating conjunctions are as follows:

  • after
  • although
  • as
  • because
  • before
  • even though
  • if
  • since
  • though
  • unless
  • until
  • when
  • whenever
  • whereas
  • wherever
  • while


  • When I come home, I will eat dinner.
  • If you sell the most cookies, you will win the prize.
  • The college gave her a scholarship because she is so smart.
  • While he waited at the train station, Atif realized that the train was late


  1. Dependent and Independent clause interchangeably come first.
  • If dependent clause come first, a comma ( , )should be used to separate the two clauses.
  • If independent clause come first, a comma ( , ) should not be used to separate the two clauses. 


  1. When I come home, I will eat dinner. (Comma used)
  2. The college gave her a scholarship because she is so smart.

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