Simple Sentence contains one independent clause and no dependent clause. It may contain a compound subject, a compound predicate, or both.
- The girls sing well (simple subject + simple predicate).
- The girls sing and dance well (simple subject + compound predicate).
- The girls and boys dance well (compound subject + simple predicate).
- The girls and boys sing and dance well (compound subject + compound predicate).
Compound Sentence contains two or more independent clauses and no dependent clause. The clauses may be connected by a comma and a coordinating conjunction (and, but, for, nor, or), by a semi-colon (;), or by a semicolon followed by a conjunctive adverb (besides, consequently, equally, furthermore, however, likewise, moreover, nevertheless, similarly, still, therefore, thus) and a comma.
- You may read the book here, or you may take it anywhere ( a comma plus a coordinating conjunction, or).
- Many houses had no running water; tall buildings had no fire escapes (a semicolon).
- The ideas in your composition are good; however, your handwriting is sloppy (a semicolon followed by a conjunctive adverb, however, plus a comma).
Complex Sentence contains one independent clause and one or more dependent (subordinate) clauses. The dependent clause may be an adjective clause, an adverb clause, or a noun clause.
- My brother, who goes to Yale, will be home for the weekend (an adjective (subordinate) clause embedded in the main (independent) clause).
- Unless everyone cooperates, we will make no progress (an adverb (subordinate) clause before the main (independent) clause).
- Give her whatever she wants (a noun (subordinate) clause, functioning as a direct object, after the main (independent) clause).
Compound- Complex Sentence contains two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.
- After I had searched everywhere, I found my ring, and I put it in my jewelry box (an adverb (subordinate) clause followed by two independent clauses).
- Jay, sweep the floor, and Joy, arrange the chairs before you leave the room (two independent clauses followed by an adverb (subordinate) clause).
- Dave called while you were out, but he didn’t leave a message (two independent clauses and an embedded adverb (subordinate) clause).