Types of sentences in English


With reference from Oshima, Hogue, & Lê (2006)

I. Independent and dependent clauses

1. Independent clauses (mệnh đề độc lập):

consist of 1 subject and 1 or more verbs to express a complete thought. With a period at the end of it, the independent clause will become a simple sentence.

E.g.      The sun rises, the baby cries, etc.

2. Dependent clauses (mệnh đề phụ thuộc) :

start with subordinators (when, if, although, because…) and have to go with an independent clause to form complete sentences.

The most common subordinators:

E.g.      After I finish learning the 5th list of less common vocabulary, because I love you, whether he comes or not, how often he misses the bus, etc.

II. Sentence types:

1. Simple sentences (câu đơn)

A simple sentence comprises a one independent clause. E.g. The sun rises.

2. Compound sentences (câu ghép)

A compound sentence contains 2 independent clauses connected to each other in one of the 3 following ways:

FANBOYS (connect clauses in 1 sentence): For (vì)       And      Nor (cũng không)        But       Or (nếu không thì)      Yet (=but)        So (nên)

Conjunctive adverbs (connect clauses in 1 sentence or link sentences or even paragraphs):           

    However, nevertheless, nonetheless

    Moreover, besides, furthermore, also, additionally, in addition

     Therefore, hence, thus, consequently, as a result, as a consequence

    In contrast, on the contrary, on the other hand

    For example, for instance

    Likewise, indeed, instead

3. Complex sentences (câu phức)

A complex sentence comprises 1 independent clause and one or more dependent clauses

Punctuation: Only when the subordinating clause stands before the main clause  ,   we need a comma.


  • (1) Although it rains, I still hope (2) that I can make it to the class (3) so that I will not miss the lesson today.
  • The Australian tourist does not care about the weather (1) when he travels (2) because this is the only time in the year (3) that he affords time for his trips.

4.  Compound-complex sentences (câu phức ghép)

A compound-complex sentence consists of 2 independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.


  • Although it rains, (1) I hope that I can make it to the class because even when I stay home, (2) I still have to spend time on make-up lessons. ( a five-clause sentence)
  • When you want to write more complex sentences, (1) you should start from writing simple sentences which are connected to each other in meaning, and (2) you just need to join them with FANBOYS, conjunctive adverbs, or subordinators to create multi-clause sentences.

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