Sentences, Clauses and Phrases – Part II
Kinds of Sentences
A simple sentence consists of a single main clause.
She wrote a letter.
They visited us yesterday.
It is snowing.
We have been waiting for hours.
Good books build character.
Birds of a feather flock together.
A compound sentence consists of two or more main clauses.
The boy fell off the ladder and broke his leg.
Man proposes, God disposes.
John smokes but Peter doesn’t.
Ann wrote the letters and Peter posted them.
A complex sentence consists of one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses.
I will call you when dinner is ready.
I don’t know if he would come.
I don’t know where he lives.
You will pass the examination if you work hard.
A compound-complex sentence consists of two or more main clauses and one or more subordinate clauses
A phrase is a sequence of one or more words which forms a single grammatical unit. A phrase does not have a subject or a finite verb.
She is a woman of great beauty.
The book was lying on the table.
We should know how to behave.
To my horror, I found a snake on the floor.
In the sentences given above, the groups of words given in bold text are examples of phrases.
When a group of words contains a finite verb, it must be either a sentence or a clause. It can’t be a phrase.
A phrase may contain an infinitive such as ‘to go’, ‘to work’, ‘to break’ etc.
I like to read.
They decided to go for a walk.
To find fault with others is easy.
A phrase may contain a gerund (such as drinking, smoking, working etc) or a participle (such as crying, learnt, being driven etc.)
I like reading.
Driven by rain, they took shelter under a tree.
Barking dogs seldom bite.