Building Sentences - Part 1
Chris Sawyer | Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Simple tips in order to understand how to write sentences in English.
In English we have simple, compound and complex sentences. Here we will look at simple and compound sentence forms.
A simple sentence consists of one clause with a subject and a verb:
The sun shone - She isn't here - Who's there?
Simple transitive sentences add an object:
She bought an expensive dress - I don't know the answer - Did he phone you? - What are you doing this evening? - Who saw the accident?
Sometimes there is also an indirect object, often the third party in the sentence:
She told Susan the news - Can you lend me £50? - We showed the neighbours our holiday photos - Don't serve him any more beer.
Simple sentences add more information with phrases that lack finite verbs:
In view of the weather, we didn't make our planned walk - Despite his age, he is still very active - She succeeded, in spite of the difficulties - The business collapsed because of the international financial crisis.
Present participles, or “ing” verbs, add action before or after the clause:
Seeing the time, he decided to get a taxi - Considering the options in front of her, she chose to stay in her present job - I heard someone singing in the next room - She found her children climbing a tree in the garden.
Full infinitives add purpose (to do, to get, ect.).:
They went to London to see a musical - I phoned Simon to ask his advice - He took his car to the garage to be serviced - To see Paris at its best, you should go there in spring.
Compound sentences consist of two or more simple sentences joined by linking words called conjunctions. These words include:
(sometimes after a comma) and / but / yet / so / then / or
They went to Brighton and spent the whole day on the beach - I'd love to fly to Australia, but I can't afford the fare - She was tired, so she decided to go to bed - He washed up, then watched TV for about an hour - We could take on temporary staff or we could offer overtime to our workers until the end of the year.
More complex examples include: (often accompanied by a semicolon or a comma) besides / moreover / however / nevertheless / nonetheless / therefore / otherwise / still / anyway / in any case
Even on a clear day the view isn't great; besides, it's going to rain, so you'll probably see nothing at all - I'm not very optimistic; however, I'm going to try - The work will be hard and frustrating; nevertheless, it will be good training for your future job - His document has not been signed; therefore it has no legal validity - You can take the last train, at 11.15; otherwise you can sleep here.
Moreover, nevertheless, and nonetheless are quite formal, and found more often in written than spoken
English. Still, anyway and in any case are informal and much used in spoken English.
Still, anyway and in any case are often introduced with a dash:
I was really hoping that we'd win the Cup - still, it was an exciting Final.
We didn't have time to visit the gallery - anyway, Sam isn't really interested in art.
The flat is in a noisy city centre street - in any case, it's far too expensive for me.
Though, when meaning however, comes at the end of the sentence, after a comma:
It isn't easy to exercise every day; the health benefits are great, though.
Written by Sam Kearns, Community Manager.