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Is this a simple or compound sentence?

Rhinorrhea is a fancy word that means “runny nose.”

I chose complex sentence because it has “that” in the sentence, which is a subordinating conjunction. Is it a simple sentence because “that” is referring to the subject “rhinorrhea”/”word”?

Does there have to be another subject after that word “that” to make it a dependent clause?

Great question! You are totally on the right track, but let’s look at the two sentences you provided. I’ll isolate the section after that.

  1. You may not realize this, but we saw your friends that you met last year.  —> you met last year.
  2. Rhinorrhea is a fancy word that means “runny nose.” –> means “runny nose”

For a clause to be a clause, it needs a subject and verb.

In the first example, the clause does have a subject and a verb: you met last year. –>  In this case, there is a clause.

In the second example, there is no subject: means “runny nose.”  –> Because there is no subject, it is not a clause. Rather, this is a phrase.

In order for the sentence to be complex, it must have a dependent clause with a subject and verb in the clause. That can signal a clause or a phrase.

This rule is the same for coordinating conjunctions in compound sentences.

Sentence #1: I like chocolate, and I like ice cream. –> Compound sentence because after and, there is subject (I) and verb (like).

Sentence #2: I like chocolate and ice cream –> Simple sentence because there is a phrase, not a clause after and.

For more TEAS practice on simple, compound, and complex subjects, access the Prenursing Smarter TEAS Prep Program and all lessons.

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