Simple Sentences

A simple sentence is a sentence with only one clause. All the sentences we have studied thus far have been simple sentences.

You may recall that earlier in this course we said that an independent clause can be turned into a sentence simply by capitalizing the first word and putting a period at the end.

Clause Sentence

the dog chased the rabbit

The dog chased the rabbit.

Most simple sentences are equally short and sweet. They consist of one clause, with maybe an adjective, adverb, or prepositional phrase thrown in just for fun.

However, there is nothing that says that a simple sentence has to be short. You'll recall, for example, that at the end of the last section we studied the following sentence:

On the Friday afternoon of the fourth week of school, in September of 2017 (during the troubled presidency of real-estate magnate Donald J. Trump), at Presidio Middle School, in San Francisco, in my brightly-lit classroom with open windows, at the end of the long, gloomy, first-floor hallway with the highly-polished white-tile floor, during fifth period, my obstreperous 7th-grade class of immature, game-loving students was, because of an overabundance of carefree, youthful, devil-may-care enthusiasm, extremely, annoyingly, unimaginably noisy, despite my many exasperated warnings.

After cancelling out all the non-essential words and phrases, we realized that this sentence can be simplified or "reduced" to just one clause:

Therefore, it's a simple sentence.

So don't be fooled: The length of a sentence has nothing to do with whether or not a sentence is simple. Any sentence that has one—and only one—clause, is a simple sentence, no matter how long or complicated it may be.

Instruction for the Quiz

Answer the questions.