Meaning simple sentence

Simple sentence Definition & Meaning

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a sentence having only one clause, as I saw her the day before yesterday.


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Question 1 of 7

Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Compare complex sentence, compound-complex sentence, compound sentence.

Words nearby simple sentence

simpleminded, simple pendulum, simple pole, simple protein, simple salt, simple sentence, Simple Simon, simple sugar, simple syrup, simple tense, simple time Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a 

simple sentence?

A simple sentence is a sentence that contains a single independent clause.

In grammar, a clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a predicate. The subject is the word that indicates what a sentence is about or who or what is performing an action. A subject can be a noun (car, Tom), a noun phrase (short book, green apples), or a noun substitute (you, they). The predicate is a word that indicates what the subject is doing. A predicate is a verb (runs, is) and the words that govern or modify it (fast, hungry).

A simple sentence contains only a single clause that stands alone and makes grammatical sense. A simple sentence has only one subject and one predicate, as in Tom is hungry.

A simple sentence can also have a compound subject (two or more subjects doing the same action), a compound predicate (two or more actions being performed), and modifiers that describe the subject or predicate (such as adjectives, adverbs, and direct objects). Because it has only one clause, though, it is still a simple sentence.

Why are 

simple sentences important?

The first records of the phrase simple sentence come from around 1669. It combines the word simple, meaning “uncomplicated,” and sentence, meaning “a grammatical unit of words that expresses an independent idea.Simple sentences are the most basic sentences you can use in English.

We use simple sentences frequently in English, especially to make an idea easier to understand. Understanding what simple sentences are will help you tackle more complicated sentence structures, such as compound sentences and complex sentences.

Did you know ... ?

Simple sentences don’t have to be short. They can be long, especially if you get creative with adjectives, as in The big, ugly, scraggly dog hungrily ate the half-full can of baked beans.

What are real-life examples of 

simple sentence?

This image gives examples of some different kinds of simple sentences you can make.

English Hints

We use simple sentences every day.

I need a big favor! Can someone translate two simple sentences from English to Spanish for me? (I took Latin; I'm useless. )

— Anna Dorfman 🥯 (@doorsixteen) December 7, 2010

“I will try to have
a great day” –@Asunaa

The text I read before I started my morning run. Positive psychology teaches us that this seemingly simple sentence programs the subconscious mind to “have a great day.”

Intentions become experiences.

Let’s have a great day.

— Edward Cleland (@MindBodyEsports) March 14, 2021

What other words are related to 

simple sentence?

Quiz yourself!

Which of the following is NOT a simple sentence?

A. Fish swim.
B. Matt and Ashley ate cake.
C. I had seven kittens, but my brother adopted one.
D. Sit!

How to use simple sentence in a sentence

  • Healthcare as we know it today is governed with information sheets and short, simple sentences that simplify and flatten complexity in an attempt to achieve clarity.

    Prostate exams can be lifesaving, so why are patients hesitant|Ericka Johnson/The MIT Press Reader|November 5, 2021|Popular-Science

  • One of the reasons that people like my YouTube channel, as stupid as it sounds, is that my English is not good, which forces me to speak in simple sentences using words that do not contain too many syllables.

    Talking Pop Science with Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder - Facts So Romantic|Brian Gallagher|July 14, 2021|Nautilus

  • There’s a bone-deep distrust of the system embedded in that simple sentence.

    How broken policing is breaking our democracy|Zack Beauchamp|April 23, 2021|Vox

  • As this list shows, punishments typically run to a short-ish jail sentence and/or a moderately hefty fine.

    In Defense of Blasphemy|Michael Tomasky|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST

  • The simple, awful truth is that free speech has never been particularly popular in America.

    How the PC Police Threaten Free Speech|Nick Gillespie|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST

  • Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice turned herself in to serve a 15-month sentence for bankruptcy fraud.

    How a ‘Real Housewife’ Survives Prison: ‘I Don’t See [Teresa Giudice] Having a Cakewalk Here’|Michael Howard|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST

  • That Huckabee is mentioned in the same sentence with other aspiring conservative governors, especially Bobby Jindal, is laughable.

    Why This Liberal Hearts Huckabee|Sally Kohn|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST

  • The reason pilots would choose to use guns over a bomb or a missile is simple.

    New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019|Dave Majumdar|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • Before he could finish the sentence the Hole-keeper said snappishly, "Well, drop out again—quick!"

    Davy and The Goblin|Charles E. Carryl

  • Smith's method usually gives good results, as does also the more simple method of Hiss (p. 263).

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis|James Campbell Todd

  • It was a mighty simple transaction, but it produced some startling results for me, that same coin-spinning.

    Raw Gold|Bertrand W. Sinclair

  • Let us look over these points again, and make the matter still clearer and more simple.

    God and my Neighbour|Robert Blatchford

  • Each sentence came as if torn piecemeal from his unwilling tongue; short, jerky phrases, conceived in pain and delivered in agony.

    Raw Gold|Bertrand W. Sinclair

British Dictionary definitions for simple sentence

simple sentence


a sentence consisting of a single main clauseCompare compound sentence, complex sentence

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for simple sentence

simple sentence

A sentence containing only one independent clause and no dependent clauses: “He went home after class.” (Compare complex sentence, compound sentence, and compound-complex sentence. )

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Definition & Meaning (with Examples)

The simple sentence is the most basic sentence structure in the English language. It’s important to understand simple sentences before understanding any of the other types of sentences.

Today, we’re taking a look at the definition and parts of simple sentences and how they compare to other types of sentences. We’ll also cover the different ways that simple sentences might look when they have simple or compound subjects or verbs.

What Is a Simple Sentence?

A simple sentence is a sentence that is comprised of only one independent clause.

What’s an independent clause? Well, it’s a clause that can stand on its own as a simple sentence.

Wait a second. Do you feel like those answers are going to put us in a never-ending loop of simple sentence/independent clause definitions?

Let’s break this down. An independent clause contains a subject and a predicate. This means that a simple sentence must contain a subject and a predicate. It cannot have any other independent clauses or dependent clauses.

That’s a basic definition of simple sentence, but you might still be wondering what all those other words mean. Let’s look at simple sentences in more detail.

What Are the Parts of a Simple Sentence?

We know that a simple sentence contains a subject and a predicate. A subject is a noun, and the predicate will contain a verb or verb phrase. How do you identify the subject and predicate in a simple sentence? We’ll cover each in detail below.

How Do You Find the Subject of a Sentence?

The subject of a sentence is the person or thing that a sentence is about (the noun). It is who or what is doing the action in the sentence (the verb). If there is more than one noun in a sentence, ask yourself which one is completing the action. Here’s an example.

  • John saw a dog.

John is the subject of this simple sentence. He is the one who saw the dog.

How Do You Find the Predicate in a Sentence?

The predicate is the part of a clause that contains the action done by the subject. We call this action the verb or verb phrase. It can be just one word, or several words. Let’s look at the same example.

  • John saw a dog.

The predicate is "saw a dog." The verb that John does is "saw." The predicate also contains the object of the action (the dog) and all the words that don’t go with the subject. In this example, that includes "a dog."

What Are the Different Types of Simple Sentences?

Some people might tell you there are different types of simple sentences. That’s not really the case. What they probably mean is that there are different types of subjects and predicates.

This can make it look like there are four different kinds of simple sentences.

In its most basic form, a simple sentence consists of a one-word subject and a one-word predicate, like this:

  • Sally eats.

There can also be an implied subject ("you"), which results in a one-word simple sentence like this imperative sentence:

  • Eat!

Many simple sentences contain more than one word in their subject or predicate or both, like in our example above about John.

  • John saw a dog.
  • My friend John saw a dog.

A simple sentence can also contain a compound subject. A compound subject is when there are two or more subjects doing the verb. It looks like this:

  • John and Melissa saw a dog.

John is one of the subjects, and Melissa is the other. Together, they create a compound subject.

There are also compound predicates. This is when two or more verbs share a subject, but there is not a second independent clause. It might look like this:

  • John saw a dog and crossed the street.

We can see that John is the subject for both "saw" and "crossed." Neither of the two predicates function as independent or dependent clauses.

A simple sentence can also have both a compound subject and a compound predicate, like in this example:

  • John and Melissa saw a dog and crossed the street.

It doesn’t matter what type of subject or predicate a simple sentence has. If there is only one independent clause and no dependent clauses, then it is still a simple sentence.

What Are the Four Types of Sentences in English?

Simple sentences are just one type of sentence in English. There are actually four! They are:

  1. simple sentences
  2. compound sentences
  3. complex sentences
  4. compound-complex sentences

Let’s discover the difference between these.

What Is the Difference Between Simple Sentences and Compound Sentences?

While a simple sentence has just one independent clause, a compound sentence has two or more independent clauses.

However, neither has a dependent clause. In a compound sentence, we can combine the independent clauses in a few ways: with a comma and a conjunction, a semicolon, an em dash, or a colon.

Here’s an example of a compound sentence.

  • John saw a dog, but he didn’t know what breed it was.

You see that we combined two independent clauses (John saw a dog, and He didn't know what breed it was) with a comma and the conjunction "but." We could eliminate the joining method and be left with two simple sentences:

  • John saw a dog. He didn’t know what breed it was.

What Is the Difference Between Simple Sentences and Complex Sentences?

A complex sentence contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause. Simple sentences do not have dependent clauses. A dependent clause cannot stand on its own as a simple sentence.

Here is an example of a complex sentence:

  • While he was out running, John saw a dog.

The dependent clause is "while he was out running." That’s not a sentence by itself. It needs the independent clause to make it a complete sentence.

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What Is the Difference Between Simple Sentences and Compound-Complex Sentences?

What happens when you combine a complex sentence with a compound sentence? You get a compound-complex sentence!

A compound-complex sentence contains at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause. This is what it looks like:

  • While he was out running, John saw a dog, but he didn’t know what breed it was.

We see the dependent clause followed by two independent clauses joined with a comma and a conjunction.

These are about as far from a simple sentence as you can get. But it’s still important to understand simple sentences so that you can identify and create the other types of sentences.

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What Are Some Examples of Simple Sentences?

Now that we have covered what a simple sentence is, how it might look, and how it differs from other sentence structures, let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • Sally sells seashells.
  • The dog is short and fat.
  • Henry and Jenny ate Chinese food and watched a movie.
  • We never go places or do anything fun!
  • She loves you very much.
  • You and I are best friends.
  • Roxanne played in the snow.
  • Charles Darwin sailed on board the HMS Beagle.

Now you know exactly how to write a simple sentence! Don’t be afraid to use them in your writing; just use them along with the other sentence structures.

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What is a simple and complex sentence?

The Russian language distinguishes between simple and complex sentences. They differ in the number of grammatical bases.

Simple sentence

Simple sentence - is a sentence with one grammatical basis.
Example: I washed the dishes. This is a simple sentence, since it has one grammatical basis - I washed it.

Types of simple sentences

A simple sentence can be one-part and two-part. nine0003

One-part - is a simple sentence with only one main term. For example: Stay silent. The main member is "stop" (predicate).

One-part sentences can be:

  1. indefinitely personal: You have been called to the director.
  2. generalized-personal: You can't even pull a fish out of a pond without effort.
  3. impersonal: The room is dark.
  4. definitely-personal: I stand and smile.
  5. infinitive: Quiet! It's time for you to go.
  6. nominal: Night. The street. Lamp. Pharmacy.

Two-part sentence - is a simple sentence that has all the necessary components, such as a subject and a predicate.

Compound sentence

A compound sentence is a sentence that has two or more grammatical bases that can be related either in meaning or with the help of conjunctions. nine0003

For example: I am sitting on a chair, a cat jumped up to me . This is a difficult sentence because it has two grammatical bases (I am sitting and the cat jumped up).

Types of compound sentences

Compound sentences can be:

  • non-union;
  • compound;
  • complex.

Non-union sentences - a sentence in which all its parts are interconnected in meaning, but without unions. nine0003

For example: It's getting warmer, I took off my jacket. In this sentence, there are two grammatical parts "warmer" and "I removed", between which there are no conjunctions.

Compound sentences are a complex union sentence, the simple parts of which are connected with the help of coordinating unions. Coordinating conjunctions: a, and, but, a, or, or, yes, both ... and, either ... either, not only ... but and, or ... or, neither ... nor, but.

All parts of compound sentences are equal in meaning. nine0003

For example: Not only the water has warmed up on the beach, but also the sand has become warmer. The first part of the compound sentence - the water warmed up, the second - the sand became. These two parts are interconnected by a composed union "but". So this is a complex sentence.

Compound sentences - sentences in which two parts are connected by subordinate unions / allied words, and in which one part depends on the other.

That is, they distinguish the main and subordinate parts. From the main, you can ask a question to a subordinate. nine0003

For example: Anton realized that he was wrong. In this complex sentence, the main part - Anton understood, from which you can ask a question to the subordinate part: Anton understood - what? - that he's wrong.

What is a simple sentence: types and examples

The sentence is studied not only by philologists and linguists, but also by psychologists and philosophers. This fact is explained by the fact that any statement is associated with human mental operations. In some studies, it is understood as a phrase or judgment. So, a simple suggestion, what is it. nine0003


  • 1 Definition
  • 2 Types of simple sentences
  • 3 Difference from compound sentence
  • 4 Useful video


In this design, one item performs one action. Example: Mom bought a delicious cake.

However, there are exceptions:

  • 0021 that is, the statement refers to several objects that perform an action: Mom, dad and grandmother came to congratulate me on my name day;
  • the grammatical stem may contain homogeneous predicates, i.e. the statement refers to several actions performed by the subject: Mom came home from work and immediately began to clean the apartment, and then started preparing dinner;
  • the grammatical stem may not contain a subject or a predicate. nine0021 For example, a statement can talk about only one object without its action: “ Beauty! "Or it can only talk about some action without a character: I buy cakes .

Types of simple sentences

Simple sentences are classified according to several criteria. All these features are indicated in the syntactic description.

According to the purpose of the statement, they are divided into:

  • narrative - telling about something: Mom came home very late;
  • interrogative - having a question in its structure: What time will mother come home?
  • motivating - encouraging to action: Let's be friends!

Sentences are distinguished by emotional coloring:

  • exclamatory, that is, with an exclamation point at the end: I love you!
  • non-exclamatory, that is, with a dot, question mark or ellipsis at the end: Give me a notebook, please.

By the presence of the main member - subject or predicate - they are divided into:

  • one-part, that is, having either a subject or a predicate in their composition: Winter!
  • One-piece constructions, in turn, are divided into: Such sentences in their composition have a subject without a predicate: It's already five o'clock!

  • generalized-personal. These constructions have a predicate denoting an action that can be applied to any person: Chickens are counted in the fall;
  • definitely personal. Such sentences have a predicate that denotes an action performed by a certain person, easily recovered from the context: I'm going home;
  • indefinite personal. Such statements have a predicate that denotes an action performed by unspecified persons: Bread is delivered every morning;
  • impersonal. It is impossible to identify the character in this type of construction: Cold.
  • By the presence of members that affect the understanding of the meaning of the statement, the following sentences are distinguished:

  • incomplete, that is, with a set of main and secondary members insufficient to understand the meaning of the statement: We are going to school (the predicate “going” is missing).
  • By the presence of secondary members, common and non-common sentences are distinguished :

    • common, that is, containing, in addition to the grammatical basis, secondary members (addition, definition, circumstance ): I will go outside with Masha.
    • non-common, that is, containing only the grammatical basis without minor members: I'll go for a walk.

    Help! A simple complicated sentence is a syntactic construction that contains complicating elements. These include:

    • homogeneous members;
    • comparative turns;
    • isolated minor members;
    • introductory words and insertions;
    • appeals.

    Difference from a compound sentence

    A compound sentence contains more than one grammatical stem: Mom washed the dishes, dad fixed the TV. In this construction, “mom soap” and “dad repaired” are separate grammatical bases.

    To find a simple sentence in a text, you need to analyze each statement for the number of grammatical bases. If it has one basis, then the analyzed syntactic construction is simple.

    1. I love Russian winter! In this statement there is no actor, that is, the subject, but there is one action, denoted by the predicate "I love." So the proposition is simple. nine0031
    2. According to weather forecasters, it will rain tomorrow . In this sentence, "it will rain" is the only grammatical basis. Therefore, the design will be simple, but complicated due to the introductory component "according to weather forecasters." Compare: Forecasters expressed the opinion that tomorrow it will rain - difficult, since it has two bases: "forecasters have expressed" and "it will rain.

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