What is a simple sentence in English grammar?

This is the second of three chapters about Simple and Compound Sentences. To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Focus specifically on the simple sentence structure in English

– Provide four rules for writing grammatical simple sentences

– Include examples of each rule to help guide the reader

Before you begin reading...

This topic now has an interactive task: Simple Sentences
  • video and audio texts
  • knowledge checks and quizzes
  • skills practices, tasks and assignments
E-learning

Chapter 2

Having explored in Chapter  1 the five features of sentences that are important for understanding sentence structures, in this second chapter we next explore simple sentences such as ‘I like studying’. Sentences such as this are as easy to learn and recognise as they sound, and are one of the first structures that any learner of English will practise forming. To create simple sentences with accuracy, students must simply remember the following four rules.

 

Rule 1: One Subject and One Verb Phrase

As was explained in Chapter 1, almost all clauses (and therefore all sentence structures) require subjects and verbs. To recognise how many clauses there are within a sentence, the simplest thing to do is to count how many subjects and main verbs exist. Thankfully, because simple sentences require only one clause, this is quick and easy. To exemplify this, the following sentences are all simple simply because they contain only one subject and one main verb each:

Rule 2: One Independent Clause

As was also explained in Chapter 1, sentences may be comprised of one or many clauses and clauses may be either independent or dependent in type. Simple sentences, however, always contain only one independent clause that has one subject and one main verb. The previous expressions ‘I like studying English’ and ‘He practices grammar every day’ are both independent clauses because they can both stand alone as complete thoughts and as complete sentences. In other words, when a sentence is made up of one independent clause, then that sentence’s structure is simple. 

 

Rule 3: Expect Other Phrase Functions

As well as containing a subject and a verb, a simple sentence may also be composed of objects, complements and adverbials, such as the three example sentences in the following table. The thing to remember here is that a simple sentence may have many objects, adverbials and complements, but always contains only one subject and one verb phrase:

Rule 4: Watch out for Compound Elements

While we discussed before how simple sentences (and clauses in general) contain only one subject, sometimes it may appear that such clauses in fact contain two subjects. Take, for example, the simple sentence ‘Jessica and I cooked the rice’. Although it may appear that there are the two subjects ‘Jessica’ and ‘I’ in this clause – which have been conjoined with the coordinate conjunction ‘and’, in fact grammatically these two subjects form the singular subject ‘we’ as in ‘We cooked the rice.’ This sentence is therefore still considered to be simple in structure even though there are two elements that look like separate subjects.

Compound sentences, on the other hand, do require two unique subjects to be grammatical – although these subjects should be distributed across two independent clauses instead of one. To find out more about compound sentences, continue studying with Chapter 3 of this short course. Consider also completing the Chapter 2 activities to check your understanding and measure your progress.

2 of 3 Chapters Completed

Downloadables

Once you’ve completed all three chapters in this short reader about Simple and Compound Sentences, you might then wish to download our Chapter Worksheets to check your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks.

Chapter 1 explores the topic: How can I better understand sentence structures? Our Chapter 1 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Chapter 2 explores the topic: What is a simple sentence in English grammar? Our Chapter 2 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Chapter 3 explores the topic: How can I form accurate compound sentences? Our Chapter 3 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

To save yourself 2 Marks, click on the button below to gain unlimited access to all of our Simple and Compound Sentences Chapter Worksheets. This All-in-1 Pack includes every chapter, activity and answer key related to this topic in one handy and professional PDF.

Collect Academic Marks

🎁 Free to join the community
  • 40 Marks for joining
  • 15 Marks for daily e-learning
  • 20-30 Marks for leaving feedback
  • 50-250 Marks for referring your friends
Autumn 2022

Chapter 1 explores the topic: How can I better understand sentence structures? Our Chapter 1 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button.