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In order to understand Simple, Compound and Complex sentences, it is important to learn Clauses. A clause is a part of a sentence with a subject and verb. It can also be a group of words. In the sentence 'After we finished school, we went home', there are two clauses. The first one being 'After we finished School' and the second one was 'We went home'. In both, there is a subject we and verbs finished and went.
There are two types of clauses:
  • Independent clause/Main clause - This clause can stand on its own and still make meaning. 'We went home' is an independent clause as it gives meaning on its own.
  • Dependent clause/subordinate clause - This is a clause that cannot exist on its own and give meaning. It can only add meaning to the independent clause next to it. 'After we finished school' is a dependent clause.
Simple Sentence:
A Simple sentence consists of just one clause. This clause is called an independent clause. Simple sentences have finite verbs.
  1. I was eating cake.
  2. The students were bored in the class.
  3. The dog slept in the park.
  4. I went to the cinemas to see a movie.
  5. Ramu is too poor to buy a bicycle.
Compound Sentence:
A Compound sentence consists of two main clauses. These two clauses are linked together with conjunction words such as and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet.
  1. I was eating cake, and I liked it.
  2. The students were bored in the class, but they tried to be attentive.
  3. The dog slept in the park, yet It was given food.
  4. I have to wake up early, or I will be late.
Complex Sentence:
A Complex sentence consists of one main clause and one subordinate clause. The subordinate clause adds more weightage to the main clause.
  1. I was eating cake when it was raining.
  2. Though the dog slept in the park, it was given food.
  3. If I do not wake up early tomorrow, I will be late.
  4. Ramu did not buy the cycle as he was too poor.
Rules for transforming one type of sentence into the other:
In spite of / DespiteButThough/ Although
  • In spite of being rich, he was humble (Simple)
  • He was rich, but he was humble (Compound)
  • Although he was rich, he was humble (Complex)
Verb + ingAndWhen/As/Since
  • Entering the room, I saw my brother sleeping (Simple)
  • I entered the room, and I found my brother sleeping (Compound)
  • When I entered the room, I found my brother sleeping( Complex)
Due to/ On account ofAnd/ SoBecause
  • I took off due to sickness (Simple)
  • I was sick and went off (Compound)
  • I took off because I was sick (Complex)
By +Verb +ingAndIf
  • By studying well, I will pass the exam (Simple)
  • I will study well and pass the exam (Compound)
  • If I study well, I will pass the exam (Complex) 
Having + VerbAndWhen+ Subject +Had+ Verb
  • Having completed her degree, she took a job (Simple)
  • She completed the degree, and she took the job (Compound)
  • She took a job when she completed the degree (Complex)