The English Sentence Quickly

By: Mubarak Abdessalami


This paper is meant to answer the following questions: Not necessarily in this order.


What do we mean by a sentence?

A sentence is a grammatical unit that should:


The constituants

The sentence is generally composed of three main constituants notably,
Ali is a doctor
Cats drink milk
Cars have horns
And this is the base form of the simple sentence


How many types of sentences are there?

There are three types:
  1. The simple sentence
  2. The compound sentence
  3. The complex sentence


The simple sentence

The simple sentence contains a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought, but it can also contain a compound subject or verb.


The compound sentence

The compound sentence is two simple sentences or independent clauses joined together by one of these conjunction known as «FANBOYS»: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So. 


My sister is a doctor and she works in a local hospital
Leila is Moroccan but she lives in Paris


The complex sentence

A complex sentence has at least one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses. A complex sentence always has a subordinator such as because, since, after, although, or when or a relative pronoun such as that, who, or which. Additionally, The sentences containing relative or adjective clauses are complex.


How many sentence forms are there?

The flexibility of language styles makes it possible to use different forms to express oneself in different ways depending on what you want to say and how you want to say it. So …

I. Those sentences looking for answers take the form of questions and always end in a question mark. We call them …

Interrogative    (?)

II. Those which give direct orders, commands or advice and also often express prohibition. We call them …


III. Those which show that we are astonished or surprised and always end in an exclamation mark We simply call them …

Exclamatory    (!)

IV But those which state facts, arguments or indirect questions We call them …

Declarative    (:)

V But those which discuss factual implications or hypothetical situations and their consequences are called


All of them could be Affirmative or Negative.

Phrases and Clauses

Some sentences are composed of many phrases and clauses. They are parts of the sentence and they rarely work independently.

The Phrase

A phrase is a fragment that consists of more than a word and it conveys no meaning by itself as it lacks the subject.

There are many sorts of phrases:


The Clause

Some sentences could contain more than one clause. They are two types:
  1. MAIN CLAUSE: Independent clause
  2. SUBORDONATE CLAUSE: Depends on the main clasuse
         I feel tired because I work hard.
         While I was taking a walk, I came across my primary school teacher.

There are many sorts of clauses

Relative clauses

These are the most frequently used either in writing or in speaking. They are introduced by:
Who whom whose which that

And « that » replaces « who », « which » and often « whom » in many situations and it is mostly used in Spoken English.
Relative clauses can be restrictive or non-restrictive. Restrictive ones take commas but non-restrictive don’t. Get More



Relative clauses

These are also used very so often and they are introduced by:
Who when where why




Coordinate clauses

These are usually in pairs and they are subordinated one to the other by:
and but or

I will cook dinner and she will do the washing up.
         ( 1 )                          ( 2 )

Ali speaks four languages but Nadia speaks only one.
          ( 1 )                          ( 2 )

I will revise my lessons or I will do my homework.
          ( 1 )                          ( 2 )



Existential clauses

Mostly used in stories. It indicates a true to life or imaginary existence of a person or a thing.
                It’s form is always:
THERE + was/were + noun clause

The existential clause is often used to invite readers to make some interpretations.



Nominal clause

Is a subordonate clause that functions as a noun phrase.
N.B: A complement clause is a nominal clause.



Some More clauses

  1. Equative clause e.g. She is young / she = young
  2. Finite clause is used with a finite verb
  3. Nonfinite clause is used with a nonfinite verb like the infinitive.
  4. Medial clause or nonfinal clause is distinguished in a clause chain
  5. Reference clause where the subject is an argument
  6. Final clause is a dinstinguished clause in a clause chain


































The subject is who or what the sentence is talking about, usually a noun or pronoun like in these sentences

























The verb tells what the subject "is" or "does". There are two sorts of verbs N.B: Some verbs can be transitive and intransitive:
  1. He smokes a cigarette.
  2. He smokes.