Simple Sentences Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 What Is a Simple Sentence?
  • 1:49 Dissecting a Simple Sentence
  • 2:14 Examples of Simple Sentences
  • 2:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

The simple sentence is the foundation of our language. It's complete, with a subject and a predicate, but with nothing extra. Let's look a little closer at what a simple sentence is, and don't forget to prove your understanding with the quiz!

What Is a Simple Sentence?

So what is a simple sentence? Is it a sentence that's easy to understand? It could be, but that's not exactly right. A simple sentence is like a skeleton of a sentence. It only has what it needs: a subject and a predicate, and that's it. There is no 'meat' that would add depth or understanding to the sentence. It is just the structure of a sentence - just the bones.

So let's take a look a a simple sentence diagrammed. The sentence is:

  • The dog ate the bone.

Simple Sentence Diagram

The words 'the dog' make up the noun phrase, with the subject being 'dog.' The phrase 'ate the bone' is the verb phrase, and the verb (or simple predicate) is 'ate.' The word 'the' is labeled as a determiner.

There are no additional clauses that would make the sentence compound, which contain at least two independent clauses, or complex, which is defined as a sentence with one independent and one dependent clause.

When you have a simple sentence, you have just one independent clause. An independent clause has one subject and one predicate and can stand alone as a sentence. Simple, right?

A dependent clause, on the other hand, may have a subject and a simple predicate, but it is not a complete thought. Dependent clauses usually start with the words 'because,' 'while,' 'if,' 'that,' or 'when.'

A few examples of dependent clauses are:

  • When the parade marches down the street
  • If the hurricane strengthens
  • Because my sister is silly

Can you see how the dependent clauses listed have a subject and a verb but do not express a complete thought? You might be left wondering what the rest of the message is on each example.

Dissecting a Simple Sentence

Let's take a closer look at an example.

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