Sentence Structure: Learn the Rules for Every Sentence Type

Discover the essential rules for crafting well-structured sentences of various types, including simple, compound, complex, and more, to enhance your writing skills.

By:Margaret Atwood

Published on : 2024-03-04, Last-Update: 04-03-24

Reviewed by: Margaret Atwood

Table of Contents

Understanding sentence structure means knowing how the different parts of a sentence come together. If you want to create cooler and more advanced sentences, you need to grasp how sentence structure functions.

Here, we break down the rules for all kinds of sentence structures so that you can talk clearly, accurately, and with confidence. But before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let's take another look at the basics.

What is Sentence Structure?

Sentence structure is like the blueprint for putting words together to form a complete sentence. It's all about understanding how different parts of a sentence fit in and work together. When you know sentence structure, you can create sentences that make sense and express your thoughts clearly. 

A sentence rewriter tool can help rearrange the components of a sentence while maintaining proper structure for clarity. It's the foundation for effective communication in writing and speaking. With the right sentence structure and the assistance of a sentence rewriter when needed, you can convey your ideas in a coherent and easily understandable manner.

Basic Parts of a Sentence

Some basic parts of the sentence are discussed below:

1. Subject

In a sentence, the subject is the main noun or pronoun that carries out the action or serves as the focus. For instance, in the sentence "I am waiting," the subject is "I," indicating that "I" am the one engaged in the action of waiting.

2. Verb

The verb is the core element that signifies the action or state of being within a sentence. In the example "I am waiting," the verb is "am waiting." Here, "am" acts as an auxiliary verb, and "waiting" is the primary verb, together expressing the action.

3. Imperative Sentences

Imperative sentences are unique in that they convey commands or requests and typically consist solely of a verb. The sentence "Stop!" exemplifies this, where "stop" serves as a complete sentence without the need for an explicit subject.

4. Direct Object

The direct object is a noun or pronoun that directly receives the action of the verb. Consider the sentence "My buddy lends me their calculator." Here, "calculator" is the direct object as it receives the action of being lent.

5. Indirect Object

The indirect object is a noun or pronoun indicating the recipient of the direct object or the one for whom the action is performed. In the same sentence, "me" is the indirect object, as it represents the one receiving the calculator.

6. Subject and Object Pronouns

Subject pronouns are used when a pronoun is the subject of a sentence, while object pronouns come into play as direct or indirect objects. For instance, "I" serves as a subject pronoun (as in "I am waiting"), while "me" is an object pronoun (as in "My buddy lends me their calculator").

7. Transitive Verbs

Transitive verbs are those that require a direct object to complete their meaning. They transfer the action to the object. In the sentence "Herrera passes Mbappé the ball," the verb "passes" is transitive because it transfers the action to the direct object "ball."

Example Sentence Analysis:

Taking the sentence "Herrera passes Mbappé the ball," into consideration:

Verb: "passes" (transitive)

Subject: "Herrera"

Direct Object: "the ball"

Indirect Object: "Mbappé"

4 types of Sentence Structure

Here are four types of sentence structure discussed below:

1. Simple Sentences

A simple sentence is the most basic form of a sentence. It consists of one independent clause, which contains a subject and a predicate. The independent clause expresses a complete thought.


  • It is straightforward and concise.
  • It presents a single idea without additional complexities.


"The sun sets in the west."

"She likes to read novels."

"They play soccer every weekend."

2. Compound Sentences

A compound sentence is formed by combining two or more independent clauses. These independent clauses are typically related in meaning.


  • It uses coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) or semicolons to join the independent clauses.
  • The independent clauses in a compound sentence are of equal importance.


"She loves playing the piano, but he prefers the guitar."

"I wanted to go to the party; however, I had too much work to do."

"The weather was cold, so we decided to stay indoors."

3. Complex Sentences

A complex sentence includes one independent clause and at least one subordinate (dependent) clause. The clauses are linked to show a relationship between them.


  • It often uses subordinating conjunctions (because, although, if, when) to introduce the dependent clause.
  • The independent clause can stand alone, but the subordinate clause cannot.


"After she finished her homework, she went to bed."

"Because it was raining, they decided to cancel the outdoor event."

"Although he tried his best, he couldn't solve the puzzle."

4. Compound-Complex Sentences:

A compound-complex sentence combines elements of both compound and complex sentences. It includes at least two independent clauses and at least one subordinate clause.


  • It often involves a combination of coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
  • It allows for the expression of various relationships and ideas within a single sentence.


"While I was studying, my sister was watching TV, and my brother was playing video games."

"He missed the train because he overslept, but he caught a later one and arrived on time."

"If you don't water the plants, they will wither, and you'll have to buy new ones."

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Learning how sentences work is really important for good communication. Knowing the basic parts like subjects and verbs, helps you create clear sentences. Whether you're making simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex sentences, understanding structure makes your writing and speaking better. So, remember these rules to improve how you express yourself with confidence and clarity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the sentence structure of English grammar?

Sentence structure in English grammar refers to how words are organized to form a complete sentence. It includes elements like subjects, verbs, and objects.

What are the 5 basic structures of a sentence?

The five basic structures of a sentence are:

  • Simple Sentence
  • Compound Sentence
  • Complex Sentence
  • Compound-Complex Sentence
  • Imperative Sentence (for commands or requests)

What are the three main types of sentences?

The three main types of sentences are:

  • Declarative Sentences (make statements or express facts)
  • Interrogative Sentences (ask questions)
  • Imperative Sentences (give commands or make requests)