If you're confused about what makes a sentence simple, these 37 simple sentence examples will help clear things up. This type of sentence can have only one independent clause. It can be long or short, but the basic structure is always the same. There are several types of simple sentences. Read over each type below and use the worksheet to help you practice writing your own simple sentences.
Simple sentences have one subject and one verb or predicate. Some of these have a direct object or a modifier, but they still only have one subject and one verb. If you need to brush up on these parts of speech, read up on Understanding Subjects, Predicates, and Objects. The following examples show how this works:
The cat stretched.
Jacob stood on his tiptoes.
The car turned the corner.
Kelly twirled in circles.
She opened the door.
Aaron made a picture.
Some simple sentences have a single subject and verb, but the subject isn't stated in the sentence. Instead, the reader knows who the subject is from context. You'll notice that many of these short examples are imperative sentences with an implied subject of "you":
Open the jar carefully.
Read the directions.
Use common sense.
Make the best of things.
These sentences have just one independent clause. Refresh your memory about the difference between independent and dependent clauses if you need clarification.
You'll also see simple sentences with a compound subject and one verb. In this case, the subjects are joined by a conjunction like "and" and are all performing the action described in the verb. There may be modifiers and direct objects here as well, as you'll see in some of these examples:
Sarah and Ira drove to the store.
Jenny and I opened all the gifts.
The cat and dog ate.
My parents and I went to a movie.
Mrs. Juarez and Mr. Smith are dancing gracefully.
Samantha, Elizabeth, and Joan are on the committee.
The ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, and corn are gluten-free.
The paper and pencil sat idle on the desk.
You'll also see some simple sentences with more than one verb and a single subject. In this case, they are compound verbs. The subject is doing all the actions, and the actions go together. The easiest way to see this is with some examples:
Misha walked and looked around.
My mother hemmed and hawed over where to go for dinner.
He was eating and talking.
I rinsed and dried the dishes.
Joe stood up and spoke to the crowd.
Although a simple sentence can be a single word, it can also be much longer. Adding modifiers or multiple direct objects can extend the length of the sentence. These examples are all simple sentences, despite their length:
The mangy, scrawny stray dog hurriedly gobbled down the grain-free, organic dog food.
I quickly put on my red winter jacket, black snow pants, waterproof boots, homemade mittens, and handknit scarf.
The incessant ticking and chiming echoed off the weathered walls of the clock repair shop.
Nervously, I unfolded the wrinkled and stained letter from my long-dead ancestor.
Into the suitcase, I carelessly threw a pair of ripped jeans, my favorite sweater from high school, an old pair of tube socks with stripes, and $20,000 in cash.
Writers have been using simple sentences as long as people have been writing. Consider these examples from literature:
"The Spirits of All Three shall strive within me." A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
"I was the more deceived." Ophelia in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
"Neither boy spoke." The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
"Call me Ishmael." Moby Dick by Herman Melville