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GRAMMAR AND THE SENTENCE STRUCTURE

Believe it or not, most students (and even many so-called English teachers) do not know about the four types of sentences.  Perhaps they may have heard of them, and at one point in their student life or teaching career, they may have studied them, but they have too soon forgotten them.  They easily forget them because using communicative and conversation English has been enough for them.  They easily forget them because they did one homework about the topic once, and that was good enough.  They easily forget them because, well, it’s just not useful.

Little do they know that mastering the four types of sentences is essential when it comes to business English and using them in our careers.  It makes us look educated, academic, and not to mention, intelligent.  In fact, it makes life easier because it helps us to better comprehend what we hear and read.  So what are these four types of sentences?  There four types of sentences, not to be confused with the kinds of sentences (declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory).  When we talk about the types of sentences, we are talking about sentence structures: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex.

At the American Institute for English Proficiency, we help our students master these four types of sentences.  When we first ask them to write a simple sentences, the immediately think simple means short or easy, like “I eat pizza.”  Okay, that is a three-word simple sentence, and that’s correct, but when we ask them to write a 50-word or more sentence, they think it’s either impossible or just too difficult of a task. When they do this task, they end up writing either a complex or a compound-complex sentence.  When they realize this, it all begins to make sense to them.  They have been using different types of sentences all along; it’s just that they have not mastered them well enough to use them in a more sophisticated manner.

So let’s begin with the simple sentence here.  We have taught our students that it is composed of only one independent clause, which is a complete thought or idea that can stand alone and has subject and a verb relationship, unlike the complex and compound-complex sentences, which have at least one dependent clause.  Furthermore, we have taught our students the usage of the eight different phrases (which we will cover in another article).

Now, the challenge is to create 50 simple sentences in the comment section.  I challenged my students that if they complete this challenge, they will have learned or mastered at least one of the types of sentences. And if they lose, they will each owe me a dinner a Buffet 101.  Well, even if they don’t complete the 50 sentences, they will have at least learned a lot.  In class, some of them responded positively that they would take on this challenge.  Let’s see if they were telling the truth.

CHALLENGE:

In the comment section, write a simple sentence with at least 50 words.  Good luck!