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The Writing Center

Directed Learning Activities

Basic Sentence Patterns


Student Name:
Instructor:

Date:
Course:

IMPORTANT NOTE: All the activities (3) in this DLA must be completed in their entirety before
meeting with a tutor and receiving credit. Where indicated, complete your work on this sheet.
Objective: Through independent work, this activity explains basic sentence patterns and will help you
practice composing correct sentences.
Understanding Basic Sentence Patterns
A key component to writing is that it should not only make sense grammatically, but the ideas should also
connect and flow smoothly from one to another. One way to make sentences flow smoothly is to use various
sentence patterns.

Key parts to every sentence:


1) Subject: the who or what in the sentence doing the action or expressing the relationship or
condition in the sentence
Jos is fluent in Portuguese.
2) Verb: expresses the action, condition, or relationship to the subject
Myrna speaks German.
Review these sentence patterns.
Sentence Pattern 1: Simple Sentence
A simple sentence contains a subject, verb, and expresses a complete thought.
1. Jos studied for the exam.
2. Elaine and Stephanie needed someone to proofread their papers.

S-V.

3. He reviewed the sentence card and wrote practice sentences.


NOTE: A simple sentence can have more than one subject and more than one verb (See
numbers 2 and 3 above).
Sentence Pattern 2: Compound Sentence

DLA: Basic Sentence Patterns 2


When you want to join two complete sentences, use a semicolon; a comma and a coordinating conjunction
(FANBOYS); or a semicolon, conjunctive adverb, and comma.
1. Jos wrote his paper; his classmates then gave him feedback on his writing.
2. Jos studied, but Chris fell asleep.

S-V; S-V.
Or
S-V, conjunction S-V.
Or
S-V; conj. adv. S-V.

3. Jos passed the exam; however, Chris failed it.

Sentence Pattern 3: Complex Sentence


Another way to join two complete sentences together is to use a subordinating conjunction to connect these
sentences.
1. Because he had studied hard, Jos aced the exam.

Subordinator S-V, S-V.


Or

2. Jos aced the exam because he had studied hard.

S-V subordinator S-V.

.
Sentence Pattern 4: Compound-Complex Sentence
Join three complete sentences together by adding a subordinating conjunction and a comma and coordinating
conjunction.
1. Jos wrote a rough draft, and he went to the tutoring center because he needed help.
2. Although he hadnt studied, Chris expected to
pass, but he was wrong.

S-V, conjunction S-V


subordinator S-V.
Or
Subordinator S-V, S-V,
conjunction S-V.

Connecting Ideas Using Coordinators and Subordinators

The following chart shows coordinators and common subordinators used when moving from point to point
within a paragraph.
Coordinating conjunctions
(compound sentence)

Addition
and
yet
nor

Contrast
but
for

Consequence
so

The Writing Center


Building 26B, Room 1561
(909) 274-5325
http://www.mtsac.edu/writingcenter/

Alternative
or

DLA: Basic Sentence Patterns 3


Conjunctive adverbs and
Transitional expressions
(compound sentence)

also
moreover
furthermore
in addition

nevertheless
however
in contrast
on the other hand

consequently
therefore
as a result

Subordinating conjunctions
(complex sentence)

along with
in addition to

even though
although
while
though

because
since

Activities (approximately one hour): Follow the steps below and be prepared to explain your answers
when you meet with a tutor. Please check off each box when you have completed the task.
1.

Open up a web browser and navigate to http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/cgishl/quiz.pl/sentence_types_quiz.htm. Complete the Quiz on Sentence Types. After you finish, click
Submit Application, and then PLEASE ASK A LAB TUTOR TO PRINT THE PAGE THAT HAS
YOUR SCORE. DO NOT EXIT THE PROGRAM UNTIL THE TUTOR HAS PRINTED THIS PAGE
(FREE OF CHARGE). If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask a lab tutor.

2.

Combine the pair of sentences using both coordination and subordination strategies. Refer to the
chart of connectors to choose an appropriate connecting word and sentence pattern.
Myrna couldnt speak English.
She was fluent in Spanish, French, and German.
1. Use a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.

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2. Create a simple sentence using at least two verbs.
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3. Use a transitional expression in a compound sentence.
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4. Use a subordinating conjunction in a complex sentence.
The Writing Center
Building 26B, Room 1561
(909) 274-5325
http://www.mtsac.edu/writingcenter/

DLA: Basic Sentence Patterns 4


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3a. Collect some of your written work. Find examples of the different sentence patterns, and write
them down below.
Simple Sentence: __________________________________________________________________
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Compound Sentence: _______________________________________________________________
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Complex Sentence: ________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
Compound-Complex Sentence: _______________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________

If you do not have your own essay to work with, please complete the supplemental activity
below (3b).
3b. On a separate sheet of paper or in a Word document, write two sentences for each of the four
sentence patterns above. You should have written a total of eight sentences.
4.

Review: Sign-up to see a tutor on the DLA Walk-in list. During your session with a tutor, explain
your understanding of the different sentence patterns. Consider the main concept you learned in this
DLA. How will knowledge of these different sentence patterns affect your writing?

Students signature:

Date:

Tutors signature:

Date:

The Writing Center


Building 26B, Room 1561
(909) 274-5325
http://www.mtsac.edu/writingcenter/