Clauses & sentences

Sentences can be multiple clauses or just one, depending on the type.

Dependent clauses

A dependent clause cannot stand alone, though they often contain both a subject and a verb.

Where independent clauses express complete thoughts, dependent clauses do not, and left on their own, dependent clauses create fragments.


  • When the dog barked.
  • So she asked.

Independent clauses

An independent clause is basically a complete sentence; it can stand on its own. It consists of a subject (e.g. “The dog”) and a predicate (e.g. “barked”).

  • Ex: The dog barked.

Simple sentences

A simple sentence consists of an independent clause on its own.

  • Ex: The dog barked. She asked him to leave.

Complex sentences‌

Complex sentences combine independent (or main) and dependent (or subordinate) clauses.

  • Ex: When Katie’s dog barked, Robin yelped in surprise.

Compound sentences

A compound sentence consists of two or more simple sentences or independent clauses.

  • Ex: Katie’s dog kept barking, so Sam asked her to take the dog outside.


Compound-complex sentences combine a compound with a complex sentence.

  • Ex: When Katie’s dog barked, Robin yelped, and Sam asked Katie to take the dog outside.