LEOLEO: Literacy Education Online

Building Sentence Patterns


Simple sentences . . .

contain only one independent clause.

Compound sentences . . .

join two or more independent clauses (simple sentences) but no dependent clauses. Compound sentences join ideas of equal importance.

Complex sentences . . .

join one or more dependent clauses (sometimes called subordinate or embedded clauses) to the independent clause. Complex sentences are useful when your writing includes some ideas that are more important than others. The independent clause contains the main idea, and the dependent clauses convey minor or subordinate ideas.


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LEO:  Literacy Education Online

This page was originally written by Judith Kilborn for the Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN. Keith Ewing completed the html markup. The handout may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.

Last update: 26 May 2000

URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/ punct/sentpatt.html