Simple Sentence

Definition of Simple Sentence

A simple sentence in grammar has only one main or independent clause and no dependent or subordinate clauses. Comprising a subject and a predicate, this short and independent syntactic entity intends to convey a complete idea or meanings of an idea.

A simple sentence is also known as a clausal sentence. It may have a modifier besides a subject, verb, and object. Though it is simple, sometimes it can have compound verbs and compound subjects. It may or may not use commas but it stays simple in construction. For instance, “Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability.” (Of Studies, by Francis Bacon)

Common Use of Simple Sentence

  • The pen is mightier than the sword.
  • Alice everyday goes to library to study.
  • Perhaps the decline of this country has already started.
  • The management of your company has executed its duties excellently.
  • People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
  • They have lost thousands of jobs to Asia, South America, and Mexico.

Types of Simple Sentence

There are two different types of simple sentence. Depending upon structure, these include:

  • Compound Verbs and Compound Subjects – Some sentences have a single subject and two or more verbs. Other sentences have a single verb and two or more subjects. For example:
    • The dog barked and ran (Compound verb)
    • Jack and Jill went up a hill. (Compound noun)
    • Arnold and Juan play cricket every evening. (Compound noun)
    • The cat and the dog yowled and howled, respectively. (Compound verb)
    • Julia and Mary hired a taxi to airport. (Compound noun)

The italicized words in the above simple sentences are compound verbs, or compound nouns, respectively.

  • Single Subject and a Single Verb – This type of simple sentence has only one subject and one verb. For example:
    • The staff performed well.
    • A white shirt always looks sharp.
    • He sold it for a high price on Amazon.
    • You have to dream to make your dream come true.

Examples of Simple Sentences in Literature

Example #1: The Big Sleep  (by Raymond Chandler)

“I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them.”

Chandler has perfectly used a simple sentence with multiple subjects to describe his blue suit. There are no dependent clauses. A single independent sentence conveys a complete idea.

Example #2: The Awakening (by Kate Chopin)

“She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”

This is another excellent example of a simple sentence without the use of commas. It is just a single sentence without dependent clauses.

Example #3: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (by Jonathan Safran Foer)

“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”

In the above example, the author has used a short and independent sentence to convey a complete idea of straining bones.

Example #4: Pride and Prejudice (by Jane Austen)

“Mr. Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on Mr. Bingley.”

Here, Austen has used a simple and declarative sentence, without any commas or clauses, to describe the character traits of Mr. Bennet.

Example #5: The Shrike and the Chipmunks (by James Thurber)

“Early to rise and early to bed makes a male healthy and wealthy and dead.”

This simple sentence can stand alone. It conveys the idea of getting up early in the morning in just a single sentence clarifying the meaning.

Example #6: The Princess Bride (by William Goldman)

“Have fun storming the castle!”

This is a very simple and clear statement with an exclamation mark. This independent clause sends the author’s emotions to his readers without choppiness or complexity of thought.

Function

The simple sentence is one of the four basic sentence structures. It serves as a simple statement. It functions as a means of communication, by adding information to the existing knowledge of both the speaker and the listener. Sometimes, writers and speakers use it as a wise saying or a proverb. The simple sentence eliminates boredom and choppiness in written works. It also enhances clarity, accuracy, and the smooth flow of reading and speaking, by giving a limited amount of information in a short and precise manner.