Sentence Definition

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A sentence is a group of words beginning with a capital letter and ending with a full-stop, exclamation or question mark in written language, containing a main verb.


Simple Sentences

A simple sentence contains a subject and a main verb; it contains one independent clause.

  • I like coffee

This is a simple sentence with one subject and one verb forming an independent clause. Naturally, a simple sentence can include other things:

  • I like a couple of cups of coffee first thing in the morning.


Compound Sentences 

A compound sentence contains two or more independent clauses, often joined by a co-ordinator.

  • I like coffee, but my partner prefers tea.


Complex Sentences

A complex sentence contains an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.

  • Because I have trouble waking up, I have coffee first thing in the morning. (The dependent clause is in bold and the independent clause is italicized)

The dependent clause cannot exist on its own; it requires the independent clause to make sense.


Compound-Complex Sentences

A compound-complex sentence contains at least two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.

  • Some people say that the best coffee comes from Brazil, but others say that the best coffee comes from the Blue Mountains in Jamaica.


See Also:

Phrase; Clause; Paragraph; Topic Sentence; Text; Grammar; Syntax; Minor Sentence; Major Sentence; Sentence Fragment; Utterance


Functions & Text

Related to 'Sentence'