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A simple sentence (sometimes called an independent clause) is a sentence that contains a subject and a predicate (a verb). It also must express a complete thought. This follows the rules of syntax in English grammar.
- "Bill reads". This is a simple sentence. "Bill" is the subject and "reads" is the action (verb).
- "Being an English teacher with a penchant for syntactical complexity, I love to read simple sentences upon getting up and before going to bed." This is still a simple sentence even though it uses more words.
Simple or dependent?
A simple sentence or independent clause is one that has a meaning to a reader or listener. If the sentence does not complete the thought, it may be a dependent clause. A dependent clause is one that does not express a complete thought. By itself it is a sentence fragment. It may look like a simple sentence, but it will not make sense on its own.
- "Bill reads". Again, a simple sentence. Bill (a noun for a subject) reads (the action that completes the thought).
- "Because Bill wants to learn more." What happens because Bill wants to learn more? We do not know, so that is not a sentence. It is a dependent clause.
- Brian Backman, Building Sentence Skills (Westminster, CA: Teacher Created Materials, 2003), p. 7
- Fred Obrecht, Minimum Essentials of English (Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series, 1999), p. 31
- Gary Lutz; Diane Stevenson, The Writer's Digest Grammar Desk Reference (Cincinnati: Writer's Digest Books, 2005), p. 77
- Phil Atteberry. "Sentence Types". University of Pittsburgh. http://www.pitt.edu/~atteberr/comp/0150/grammar/sentencetypes.html. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Independent and Dependent Clauses". LoveToKnow, Corp. http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/grammar-rules-and-tips/independent-and-dependent-clauses.html. Retrieved 17 January 2015.