Sentence structure refers to the way words are grouped together. Just like a building needs to have a good structure to withstand storms and constant use, a sentence needs to have a good structure to do its job properly in the paper.

Sentence structures also have something else in common with buildings. While some buildings (like houses) are small and compact, other buildings (like hospitals and factories) are big and complex. Sentences work the same way: some sentences are small and simple, while others have a lot of different parts. 

So, how do you build a sentence with good structure? You start by learning what goes into a sentence. 

Basic parts of a sentence

Sentence Part  Function Placement  Sample Sentences
Subject  what or who the sentence is about beginning of the sentence  Carl brought his yak to the beach in Barcelona.
Subject Compliments  information that describes or completes the subject before or after the subject, depending on the type of information  A nice old man feeds the pigeons near there. 
Verb the action or state of being after the subject and its compliments He and Carl talk to each other every day.
Direct Object  the person or thing that received the verb's action or state of being end of the sentence Today, the old man forgot the bread.
Indirect Object the person or thing affected by the verb's action or state of being between the verb and the direct object Carl gave the old man some yak feed.
Object Compliment words that describe the direct object before the direct object (after the indirect object, if there is one) The pigeons loved the sugary, tasty feed.

Types of sentence structures

There are four types of sentences in the English language: simple sentences, compound sentences, complex sentences, and compound-complex sentences. 

Below are the definitions of the different types of sentences and an example of each:

Simple: A simple sentence expresses a complete thought using a subject, verb, and sometimes a little explanatory information.

        Ex: I ran into the house.

Compound: A compound sentence is composed of two independent clauses (simple sentences) put together in one of three possible ways.

    Comma and a conjunction
    Ex: I ran into the house, and I saw my mother.

    Ex: I ran into the burning house; I had to save my cat.

    Semicolon, conjunctive adverb, and a comma
    Ex: I like cats; however, I don’t like to own them.

Complex: A compound sentence is composed of an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. A dependent clause is a sentence that has a subject and a verb, but it begins with a subordinating conjunction (even though, because, when, as, once, while, since, etc.) so it cannot stand by itself.

        Ex: Even though the house was on fire, my cat ran into the house to save me.

Compound-Complex: As the name implies, a compound-complex sentence is composed of parts of a compound sentence and parts of a complex sentence. It has a dependent clause followed by a compound sentence.

        Ex: Even though the house was on fire, my cat ran into the house to save me, and she saved my life.