This is a minor sentence because it only has one word.
Bob held up a sign.
This is a simple sentence because it only has one clause (idea).
Bob held up a sign and it said ‘stop’.
This is a compound sentence because it is two simple sentences joined by ‘and’ or ‘but’.
Despite having his hands full, Bob held up a sign that said ‘stop’.
This is a complex sentence. Complex sentences have a main clause.
We use them to emphasise other sentence types:
Trouble. As Bob ran out of the shop, he could see the young hooligans crossing the road. They were coming towards him. He screamed, but the teenagers still did not stop. Quickly, Bob turned. Looking over his shoulder, he could still see the hoodies heading his way. Bang: the gun went off.
Look at how the paragraph contains a range of sentence types. See if you can identify the different sentence types in the paragraph. You want to ensure you vary your sentences throughout the paragraph.
Trouble (Minor). As Bob ran out of the shop, he could see the young hooligans crossing the road (Complex). They were coming towards him (Simple). He screamed, but the teenagers still did not stop (Compound). Quickly, Bob turned (Complex). Looking over his shoulder, he could still see the hoodies heading his way (Complex). Bang: the gun went off (Complex).
The easiest way to remember how to vary your sentence openings is ISPACE:
Change your verb to have an ‘ing’ suffix. An example is: ‘Enjoying the sun, the girl sunbathed.’
Start your sentence with a simile. Remember that this is when you compare one thing to another. Mostly similes contain ‘like’ or ‘as’. An example is ‘As cool as a cucumber, the boy completed his exam’.
Prepositions tell you more about where an object might be or the relationship between one object and another. An example is ‘On top of the cupboard lay the magic key.’ Other prepositions include: ‘behind’, ‘underneath’, ‘before’ and ‘after’.
Adverbs modify a verb. They normally end in ‘ly’. An example is ‘Happily, the old lady danced.’
Conjunction or Connective
There are many different types of connectives:
You can begin your sentences with many of these connectives. An example is: ‘Consequently, she forgot to buy milk.’
You can change your verb to an ‘-ed’ suffix to begin a sentence. An example is: ‘Stopped by the police, the man was arrested.’
Here is an example ISPACE paragraph:
Underneath the leaves lay a door (Preposition). Intrigued, the girl opened it (-ed). As slowly as a mouse, she crept inside (Simile). Then, the door banged shut. Quickly hiding, she trembled (Adverb). Creeping towards the exit, she tried to escape (-ing).