There are four different types of sentences: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex. It is important to become comfortable with each type, since a variety of sentence types signals a writer's skill and maturity.
The simple sentence contains one independent clause (a phrase that contains a subject and a verb and can stand alone as a sentence). The independent clauses in this handout are underlined.
The Gustie ordered pizza.
The subject or verb (or both) may be compound. However, the sentence is still considered simple. In addition, a simple sentence may include modifying words or phrases.
The female Gustie and the male Gustie ordered a pepperoni pizza.
The compound sentence contains two independent clauses. The two independent clauses are usually joined by a comma or coordinating conjunction like and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet.
The Gustie ordered pizza, but the pizza never came.
The independent clauses can also be joined by a semicolon or a semicolon and a conjunctive adverb (however, therefore, moreover, nevertheless).
The Gustie ordered pizza; however, the delivery boy never delivered the pizza.
Complex sentences contain one independent clause and one dependent clause (a dependent clause has a subject and a verb, but cannot stand alone). In this handout, the dependent clauses are in bold.
If the Gustie had said the name of his dorm, the pizza would have come.
Compound-complex sentences have at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
When the pizza finally arrived, the cheese was cold and the Gustie didn't tip.