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Purpose of Sentence Structures Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rayna Cummings

Rayna has taught Elementary Education for 12 years (in both 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades) and holds a M.Ed in Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University

Did you know that there are different ways sentences can be written to make a story better? In this lesson, you'll learn about sentence structures and why authors use different types of sentences to create a story.

What a Story!

Think about your favorite book. Whether you realize it or not, you enjoyed this book because of something known as sentence structure, or the way a sentence is written. Let's take a further look at the four different types of sentence structure.

Sentence Structure

There are four main ways an author can structure a sentence.

1.) Simple sentence: I am sure you can relate to a sentence that is short and easy to read, like 'The teenage boy went to his basketball game Friday night.' A simple sentence has one independent clause or one sentence that stands by itself.

2.) Compound sentence: Just like a compound word has two words combined to make a new word, a compound sentence uses two independent clauses, or simple sentences, to make a new sentence. For example: 'Billy went to the school dance, yet he forgot to bring his ticket to get in.' Both clauses can stand by themselves, but by using the conjunction 'yet', those two sentences become one compound sentence.

3.) Complex sentence: Here is where sentences get a little tricky. There are some sentences that use independent clauses and subordinate clauses. Subordinate clauses cannot stand by themselves and need help from an independent clause to make a complete sentence. In a complex sentence, you'll find one independent clause and one subordinate clause.

For example: 'If Billy had his ticket, he would not have to worry about getting into the dance.' As you can see, 'If Billy had a ticket' cannot stand on its own without the help of the rest of the sentence.

4.) Compound-complex sentence: In this type of sentence, both a compound sentence using two independent clauses and a complex sentence using one subordinate clause and one independent clause are combined to make one sentence. In total, you need at least two independent clauses and one subordinate clause to make this sentence structure.

For example: 'If Jimmy brought an extra ticket, Billy would not have to worry; he was going to get into the dance.'

Let's look at some other examples.


The Four Different Types of Sentence Structure
sentence structures


Sentence Purpose

Authors write using different sentence structures to keep readers interested and engaged in a story. Think about a book you've read that had all simple sentences, such as a first-grade story that had one sentence on each page, like The Cat on a Mat:

'The cat sat on a mat. The fat cat liked his mat.'

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