© 2017 Steve Campsall

the simple sentence (2)

A simple sentence contains a single clause, which, of course, has to be a main clause. A simple sentence, therefore, is an independent clause. This doesn't mean that the sentence is necessarily short, of course and many simple sentences can be very long.

Why do we use simple sentences? Stylistically, a series of simple sentences can help suggest tension; they can also create a sense of straightforwardness and clarity. Simple sentences are also a major aspect of the register used by and when speaking to the very young or to a learner of English. Here is an example of the way simple sentences can be used to build tension.

It was a dark night. The clouds thinly covered the pale moon. All around lay still and silent. Not a soul moved. Not a soul dared to move...


Try linking these sentences mentally with the conjunction 'and' or try adding in 'although' , 'however' or 'because' where possible. Then mentally replace each full stop with a semicolon. Can you detect the various tonal changes to the text when you do this? These can be subtle but important.


Here is an example of writing that is typical of a young child:

It was Monday. Mummy was at work that day. She went to work every Monday. It was sunny that day. School was fun.

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