This is Part One of a three-part series on Sentence Structure by Shauna Bolton, Grammarian Extraordinaire!
The Four Basic Sentence Types
Type 1 – The Simple Sentence
- A simple sentence has one subject and one verb. The sentence splits where the subject and verb meet.
Example 1: Dogs | bark.
The subject half is the plural noun “dogs.” The verb half is “bark.”
EVERY sentence, no matter how complicated, has these two halves.
This is the simple sentence’s most basic form.
The subject half is called…wait for it…the subject. The verb half is called the PREDICATE.
The one-word subject is the SIMPLE SUBJECT. The one-word verb is the SIMPLE PREDICATE.
Example 2: All the neighborhood dogs | bark at the mail carrier.
Most simple sentences have longer subjects and predicates, like you see in Example 2. But the SPLIT is still between “dogs” and “bark.”
- The subject is now four words l e compound.
- Compound subjects are created using “and,” “or,” “either/or,” “neither/nor.”
Example 3: Both Miguel and Maria | play soccer.
- This sentence has two subjects, “Miguel and Maria,” and ONE verb “play.”
- The two subjects are joined using “and.”
- This is a COMPOUND subject and a simple predicate.
Compound subject + Simple predicate = Simple sentence
Example 3a: Maria | writes computer code and surfs.
- This sentence has ONE subject and TWO verbs.
- The two verbs are joined using “and.”
- This is a SIMPLE subject and a COMPOUND predicate.
Simple subject + Compound predicate = Simple sentence
Example 3b: Both Maria and Joseph sing and play an instrument.
- This sentence has TWO subjects and TWO verbs.
- The subjects and verbs are joined using “and.”
- This is a COMPOUND subject and a COMPOUND predicate.
Compound subject + Compound predicate = Simple Sentence
QUICK CHECK: Which sentences have compound subjects and which have compound predicates?
- Jocelyn or Kumiko sorts all the old clothes.
- They sorted and washed all the old clothes.
- The same toppings or cheeses work for sandwiches and pizza.
- He has a full-time job and an online business on the side.
- The chips and salsa go on that table.
1 – Jocelyn or Kumiko
3 – The same toppings or cheeses
5 – The chips and salsa
2 – sorted and washed all the clothes
4 – has a full-time job and an online business on the side.