What are Simple Sentences? - Examples & Concept

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  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:16 Independent and…
  • 1:24 More on Simple Sentences
  • 1:52 Compounds & Simple Sentences
  • 3:23 Making Long Simple Sentences
  • 4:34 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Firestone
In this lesson, you'll learn what simple sentences are and how to distinguish them from other sentence types. You'll also learn how sentences with compound subjects and verbs can be simple sentences.


A sentence is a group of words that forms a complete thought. A simple sentence is different from other sentence types because it contains only one independent clause and has no dependent clauses.

Independent and Dependent Clauses

An independent clause has one subject and one verb. An example of an independent clause is the sentence:

  • I went to the beach.

which has one subject, the pronoun 'I,' and one verb, 'went.'

A dependent clause also contains a subject and a verb, but it can't stand alone because it doesn't form a complete thought:

  • When I go to the beach

is an example of a dependent clause. It has a subject, 'I,' and a verb, 'go,' but because it begins with the word 'when,' it doesn't form a complete thought because the listener expects to hear something after 'beach.'

If we follow this dependent clause with an independent clause, we can make it a complete thought:

  • When I go to the beach, I bring my hat.

This sentence is called a complex sentence, which is a sentence with at least one independent clause and one dependent clause.

In contrast, a compound sentence is a sentence with two or more independent clauses and no dependent clauses. An example of a compound sentence is:

  • I went to the beach, and I got sunburned.

It has two independent clauses, 'I went to the beach' and 'I got sunburned,' joined by the conjunction 'and.'

More on Simple Sentences

Simple sentences are called 'simple' because they contain only one subject and one verb, or predicate. What's a predicate? A predicate is the main verb in a sentence and any additional components related to the subject's actions.

For example:

  • I will shop at the store this weekend.

In this sentence 'I' is the subject, and 'will shop' is the predicate. The verb 'shop' is helped by the auxiliary verb 'will,' and together they form the predicate.

Compound Subject, Compound Predicate, Simple Sentence

Understand that 'simple' doesn't always mean short, or even uncomplicated for that matter, when it comes to simple sentences and their subjects and verbs. A simple sentence can be long and have compound subjects and compound verbs or predicates.

A compound subject has more than one noun performing the action of the predicate. In contrast, a simple subject has only one noun performing the action. A compound predicate has more than one verb using the same subject. In contrast, a simple predicate has only one verb using a subject. Compound subjects and predicates are joined by conjunctions like 'and' and 'or.' So, the subject and verb/predicate of a simple sentence can be compound and still be considered a sentence with one subject and one verb.

See the following examples, which may offer some clarity on the subject:

  • Mary chuckled.

This is a simple sentence with a simple subject, 'Mary,' and a simple predicate, 'chuckled.'

  • America's greatest actors, actresses, directors, and screenwriters will appear on the awards show tonight.

This is a simple sentence with a compound subject, 'actors, actresses, directors, and screenwriters,' and a simple predicate, 'will appear.'

  • David seasoned and roasted the turkey with the skill, flair, and passion of a true chef.

This is a simple sentence with a simple subject, 'David,' followed by a compound predicate, 'seasoned and roasted.'

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