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PRAXIS I Writing

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Sentence Structure

Words are grouped together to form sentences. A sentence can be an idea, a statement, a question, a dialogue, and so on. A sentence can even consist of a single word.

The multiple-choice questions that will appear in the writing portion of the PRAXIS exam will test your ability to identify errors in sentence structure; therefore, you should have an understanding of sentences in the English language.

Sentence Types

In its simplest form, a sentence can consist of a single word, such as, "Look!" Every sentence will contain at least one clause. A clause contains a subject and a predicate. The subject of the clause tells the reader who or what the sentence is about, and the predicate gives information about what the subject does.

Two different types of clauses can exist in a sentence. An independent clause is one that can stand alone within a sentence. A dependent clause, or subordinate clause, is one that cannot stand alone, as shown in these examples:

  • My dog buried his bone. (independent clause)

  • After he buried his bone (dependent clause)

Now that you are familiar with the parts of a sentence, let's take a look at the different types of sentences:

  • Simple sentence—A simple sentence is one that contains a single independent clause.

  • Compound sentence—A compound sentence consists of two or more independent clauses that are joined using a word such as and. These joining words are referred to as coordinating conjunctions. For example:

  • We went out for dinner, and later we went to see a late-night movie.

  • Complex sentence—A complex sentence consists of an independent clause and at least one or more dependent clauses. For example:

  • Because it was raining, we decided not to go to the beach for the day.


As already mentioned, clauses can be joined together to form compound and complex sentences. Independent clauses can be joined to form a compound sentence through coordination using any of the following words:

  • And

  • Or

  • Nor

  • For

  • But

  • Yet

  • So


A complex sentence is formed by joining an independent clause and a dependent clause. These clauses are joined through subordination using words such as although, because, unless, though, since, which, while, and that. If you join two independent clauses through subordination, one of the clauses becomes dependent, as shown in the following examples:

  • The teacher reviewed the concept of multiplication. The topic was studied a month ago.

  • Although the topic was studied a month ago, the teacher reviewed the concept of multiplication. (subordination)

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