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Sentences
  What is a sentence?
    Simple and longer sentences
    Common mistakes

Verbs
  Main verbs
    Common mistakes

  Agreement
    Common mistakes

  Present; past; future tenses
    Consistent tenses

  Personal or impersonal
    Active
    Passive
    Third person

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Starter Level Advice

Sentences - What is a sentence? - Simple and longer sentences

These two sentences are simple sentences.

Examples
The dog ran.

The dog ate the bone.

Most sentences are longer (known as complex sentences).

Example
Many students are mature, with a large number in their mid 20s - mid 30s and a significant number who are older.

Longer sentences have groups of words which are linked in some way. The verb which agrees with the subject of the whole sentence is the main verb.

Example
Many students are mature, with a large number in their mid 20s - mid 30s and a significant number who are older.

The underlined words are the subject and the highlighted word is the main verb.

A sentence should have one main idea, and all the parts of a sentence should link to it. If a group of words in a sentence is about something different, it should be in a different sentence.

Example
*Many students are mature, with a large number aged mid 20s - mid 30s and a significant number who are older, and grants have been replaced by loans.

Here the last part of the sentence (underlined) is not about the same thing as the rest of the sentence, so it should not be part of it.

© Learning & Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University 2004