Simple Sentences

Simple sentences, or basic sentences, are the main unit of expression in written text.

A sentence contains a collection of words that communicate a complete thought. For a sentence to make sense it needs two important features, a subject and predicate.

Subject - Predicate
The boy - ran to school.


All sentences are made up of clauses. The simple sentence has only one clause: the main clause. Other types of sentences such as compound, complex and compound complex sentences have two or more clauses.

The basic sentence has one clause only. If you ever get stuck remembering how a basic sentence is constructed, and how its different from other sentence types, remember that it contains a single clause.

The main clause can either be quite short, or very long. For example the following basic sentences contain only one verb, the word 'like.'

I like cats.
I like fat cats.
I like fat cats with long tails.
I like fat cats with long furry tails and big eyes.

The basic sentence, though it only has one main clause, can reach a great length due to the author adding phrases. Phrases are groups of words that don't contain a verb. Phrases are only part of a sentence. For instance, big eyes, long furry tails, with long tails, etc.

The following pdf files are free basic sentence guides in the form of graphic organizers.

Basic Sentence Guide
Right-click to download this PDF file here.

Basic Sentence Guide - Two
Right-click to download this PDF file here.

Basic Sentence Guide - Questions
Right-click to download this PDF file here.

Sentence Structure Guide
Right-click to download this PDF file here.


Merrick, D. (2009) Blake's Grammar Guide for Primary Students. Pascal Press

Saddler, B. & Graham, S. (2005) The effects of peer assisted sentence combining instruction on the writing performance of more and less skilled young writers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, 43-54.

Scott, C.M. (2009) A Case for the Sentence in Reading Comprehension. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools Vol 40, 184-191

Content Last Modified 8/11

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