Simple sentence masterclass

This lesson helps us understand everything about a simple sentence in English.

Simple predicate explanation in English
Simple predicate explanation in English

What is a Simple sentence in English?

Simple sentence definition: A simple sentence is a sentence (independent clause) that doesn’t have any dependent clause in it. It has a subject and a predicate.

Here are some examples of simple sentences:

  • You sing amazingly.
  • I love my students.
  • You can do anything in life.
  • She popped the question to me yesterday.
  • Will you help me with this project?
  • I don’t listen to all my thoughts. Some of them can be dangerous for me.
  • Jyoti can’t live without her cell phone. 
  • Most people don’t meditate even after knowing its benefits.
  • Some people never learn from their mistakes.

Notice that all these sentences have only one independent clause in them. They include a subject and a predicate.

20 Simple sentences in English
20 Simple sentences in English

What do we have in a simple sentence?

A simple sentence can have many elements in it, but it definitely has the following two:

  1. Subject
  2. Verb or verb phrase

Examples:

  • Everyone sleeps.
  • She has left. 
  • No one laughed.

These two things are necessary to form a simple sentence or any sentence in general (unless the subject is implied). But usually, a sentence needs other parts based on the information we need to provide. They include the following:

  1. Object
  2. Subject complement
  3. Adjunct
  4. Adverbial
  5. Verb complement 

It’s important for us to understand that not all these items have to be there or are there in a simple sentence or any sentence. The presence of the items depends on the type of verb and the meaning the sentence needs to be rendered.

Here are some simple sentences with different combinations of these items:

I love helping others.

The sentence has a subject, verb, and object.

Subject – I
Verb – love
Object – helping others (gerund phrase)

The last chapter of the book is difficult to understand.

It’s a simple sentence that has a subject, verb, subject complement, and adjective complement.

Subject – the last chapter of the book 
Linking verb – is
Subject complement – difficult
Adjective complement – to understand

You have been helpful.

This simple sentence has a subject (you), a linking verb (has been), and a subject complement (helpful). The structure is different from the ones above.

They called me a genius yesterday.

Notice that the structure of this simple sentence is different from the ones we have seen already. Here’s the breakup:

Subject – they
Action verb – called
Object – me
Object complement – a genius 
Adverbial – yesterday

Put it in the box.

This one looks like it does not have a subject. The subject of the sentence is implied here. This happens when the sentence is imperative. 

Implied subject – you (not physically present)
Verb – put
Object – it
Verb complement – in the box

With the help of these examples, we have clearly understood that what we have in a simple sentence or a sentence, in general, can’t be predetermined. It depends on the verb and the information we want to provide in the sentence. We can’t force a certain structure in a simple sentence or any sentence. The context dictates that.

Can we have two subjects in a simple sentence?

Yes, a simple sentence can have two subjects in it as long as they both refer to the same verb.

My father and I are going to London next week

Notice there’s one action (verb) in the sentence, which is ‘going’, and there are two people (subjects) performing this action. This is a simple sentence as it has only one independent clause in it. 

Examples:

  • Jon and I live together. 
  • My teacher and I don’t see eye to eye. 
  • Are you and Jon not coming to the office tomorrow?
  • Max, Sam, and you are probably going to get the chance to present the paper.

Notice that the subjects in these sentences have only one verb to refer to. When two or more subjects refer to a single verb, we call it a compound subject.

Can a simple sentence have two predicates in it?

Yes, a simple sentence can have two or more predicates or verbs in it. All the predicates, though, should not have different subjects.

I went to his house and convinced him to come with us on the tour

There are two predicates in this sentence, meaning the sentence performs two actions (underlined). Both predicates have the same subject, meaning the actions are being performed by the same subject. 

More examples of a simple sentence having compound predicates in it:

  • They came to me and started crying.
  • I bought the book but didn’t read it.
  • Call her and apologize. (The subject is implied here)
  • You can talk to him and share your problems.
  • She came to me, asked for my number, and left within a minute.

These all are simple sentences. Notice all the sentences have two or more predicates in them, but they all share a single subject only. 

Simple sentence and types of sentences

Every sentence in the English language belongs to one of these four types:

  1. Assertive or declarative 
  2. Imperative 
  3. Interrogative
  4. Exclamatory 

The structure of a simple sentence is decided by the type of sentence it belongs to. Let’s take some examples and understand this.

A simple sentence as an assertive sentence 

An assertive or declarative sentence provides a declaration. It states some facts or gives someone’s opinion about something.

Examples:

  • I like Riya.
  • He is a dangerous fighter.
  • Jon played football in school.
  • We go shopping every month.
  • You are surprisingly very spiritual.
  • She doesn’t like chocolates.

A simple sentence as an imperative sentence 

An imperative sentence shows an order, command, request, or instruction. It tells or asks someone to do something, and the subject of an imperative subject is often implied (not present in the sentence). The implied subject is ‘you’.

Examples:

  • Go to your room.
  • Listen to me.
  • Work on your communication skills.
  • Don’t show me your face again.

A simple sentence as an interrogative sentence 

An interrogative sentence intends to ask a question and get some information out or confirm something.

Examples:

  • Are you an English teacher?
  • Do you know me?
  • Why are you looking at me?
  • What do you do?
  • Do you mind holding my bag for a moment?

A simple sentence as an exclamatory sentence 

An exclamatory sentence renders a strong emotion in the sentence and ends with an exclamation mark. Some of the common emotions are as follows: love, hate, appreciation, astonishment, amazement, etc. They often start with an interjection too. 

Examples:

  • That was an amazing match! (Amazement)
  • We lost him! (Grief)
  • Wao! Your house looks amazing. (Amazement)
  • Get out of here right now! (Anger)

A simple sentence can belong to two categories of a sentence as the last one does. It is an imperative sentence from the structure that expresses a strong emotion.

Long Simple sentences

Hearing the name, most people think that a simple sentence is short, which it usually is, but it does not have to be short. Simple sentences can be full of information, having a lot of phrases in them. 

As long as it doesn’t have more than one clause in it, it’s a simple sentence. The length of the sentence is insignificant to decide if it’s a simple sentence. 

Before the start of the movie, one of your friends living in Pune came to me in the parking lot and asked for some money. 

Adverbial phrase = before the start of the movie
Subject = one of your friends living in Pune
Predicate 1 = came to me in the parking lot
Predicate 2 = asked for some money

Notice the sentence starts with an adverbial phrase (Before the start of the movie). Since it is an introductory adverb, we use a comma after it. Post that, we have a subject in the form of a noun phrase and a compound predicate. The first predicate has a main verb, a verb complement in form of a prepositional phrase, and an adverbial phrase in form of another prepositional phrase, and the second predicate has a main verb and a verb complement in form of a prepositional phrase. 

Based on how the sentence looks, it’s difficult to call it a simple sentence. But there’s nothing in it not to call it a different one either. This example proves that the length or the amount of information has nothing to do with calling a sentence simple or otherwise; it’s the number and types of clauses in it that decide that.

More examples:

  • Some of us never want to accept our mistakes in front of others.
  • Looking at some old photos of my father playing with me and kissing me, I started breaking down inconsolably in front of everyone present in my room.
  • I was told not to go to that spooky house with red clothes on by one of my father’s friends living close to that house.
  • The ending of the movie, in my opinion, could have had more drama and action to give justice to the storyline.
  • Do you know the girl looking at us angrily in the blue coat with a knife in her right hand?

How to change a compound sentence into a simple sentence?

A compound sentence is a combination of two or more independent clauses, usually two. A simple sentence, on the other hand, is just one independent clause. So, is it possible to transform a compound sentence into a simple one? 

The answer is YES. That’s possible. But can we change all compound sentences into simple sentences? That would not be possible and intelligent for us to try as, sometimes, the information needed to be shared can’t be put in any other sentence structure.

Let’s understand this with some examples.

Compound sentence: Jon came to me running, and he started crying. 
Simple sentence: Jon came to me running and started crying.

Notice that the compound sentence has two separate clauses. But the subject of both clauses is the same. So, we didn’t have to do much. We just had to remove the subject of the second clause and make it a phrase. We could do that as the predicate of the second, as well as the first one, refers to the same subject: Jon. 

If there were two different subjects, it would not be possible to transform the sentence into a simple one.

Study this example for instance.

Compound sentence: Jon is looking for a job, and I am helping him with the same.

Here, both independent clauses have different subjects. So, transforming the sentence into a single clause sentence is not grammatically possible. 

More examples (compound sentence to simple sentence)

Compound sentence: I want to help you, but I can’t.
Simple sentence: I want to help you but can’t.

Compound sentence: We love you, and we’ll do anything for you.
Simple sentence: We love you and will do anything for you.

Compound sentence: She called her parents, and she told them about her dreams.
Simple sentence: She called her parents and told them about her dreams.

Notice the comma is also removed when a compound sentence is changed into a simple sentence. 

Complex sentence into a simple sentence 

A complex sentence can also be transformed into a simple sentence if the context allows us to do that. A complex sentence has one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses in it. 

The process is the same: changing one of two clauses into a phrase and ensuring the sentence has just one independent clause. 

Let’s study some examples to understand the process.

Complex sentence: She did not join us yesterday because she was under the weather. 
Simple sentence:
She did not join us yesterday because of being under the weather. 

We have changed the dependent clause, which was working as an adverb clause of reason, into an adverbial phrase. The sentence, now, has only one independent clause in it. 

Complex sentence: Before the meeting started, we prepared the presentation in a hurry.
Simple sentence: Before the start of the meeting, we prepared the presentation in a hurry.

Here, we have changed the dependent clause (adverb clause of time) into a phrase (adverbial phrase of time). Notice it’s not a clause anymore; it doesn’t have a subject-verb combination.

But every complex sentence can’t be transformed into a simple sentence. Actually, it can’t be done with most of them. Let’s understand this by studying some examples.

Complex sentence: I was sleeping when you called. 
Complex sentence: I wouldn’t accept the deal if Sam talked me down like he did you.
Complex sentence: None of us knows where she lives. 

Do you think these sentences can be transformed into a single sentence? That’s right; it seems impossible to do so. So, we shouldn’t unnecessarily try to change sentences. We have learned this from these examples.

Can a simple sentence be changed into a compound or complex sentence?

The answer is yes. Grammatically, it is possible to change a simple sentence to a compound or complex sentence. But it’s not ideal or a good use of grammar to do so. If information is already put in the simplest form (simple sentence), meaning the sentence is as precise as it can be, it’s not smart to change it to a lengthy form. 


Simple sentence

Compound sentence
Complex sentence

Fired from the job, Mangesh reverted to drinking.
Mangesh reverted to drinking, for he was fired from the job. Mangesh reverted to drinking because he was fired from the job. 

Thinking about his family, one of my flatmates from Germany went out and started crying.
Thinking about his family, one of my flatmates from Germany went out, and he started crying.Because he was thinking about his family, one of my flatmates who was from Germany went out and started crying.
simple sentence to compound and complex sentence

Important points to note about a simple sentence

  1. A simple sentence has just one independent clause in it.
  2. A simple sentence makes complete sense.
  3. A simple sentence can’t have a subordinate/dependent clause in it.
  4. A simple sentence can be lengthy. The length doesn’t have anything to do with it.
  5. The majority of sentences written or spoken in the English language are simple sentences.
  6. A simple sentence can have two subjects in it.
  7. The predicate of a simple sentence can be compound, meaning it can have two or more predicates in it.
  8. A simple sentence can belong to any category of a sentence: affirmative, interrogative, imperative, or exclamatory.
  9. A compound or complex sentence can also be transformed into a simple sentence. Similarly, it can also be changed into a compound or complex sentence.

Now, we know everything about independent clauses. Feel free to share your question, doubt, or feedback in the comment section, and also, share the post with the people that need it.

For one-on-one classes, contact me at [email protected].

FAQs

How do I make a simple sentence?

A simple sentence can be formed using a subject and a verb or verb phrase. That is the least we need in order to form a simple sentence. Examples: 1) I sleep2) We have left. 3) She sings. 

What is simple sentence example?

A simple sentence is an independent sentence. Ex – I have done a lot of challenging things lately.

What sentence is a simple sentence?

A simple sentence is an independent clause without any dependent clause in it. It makes complete sense. 

What are 10 simple sentences?

Here are 10 examples of simple sentences:
1. We work hard.
2. She loves me.
3. I know her.
4. You are amazing.
5. The project has been finished.
6. They are looking for you everywhere.
7. What do you do?
8. You can do anything in life.
9. You are smart and powerful.
10. Work on your mental strength.

Simple sentence in English
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Ashish found his first love—the English language—a few years back. Since then, he has been immersed in the language, breaking down the language and teaching it to passionate English learners. He has a flair for listening to the English language (podcasts, sitcoms, stories), observing the nuances, and making it easy for English learners. He is known for breaking down complex English topics and making them easy to be understood.

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