I got up and opened the door.

Whether the given sentence is "Compound" or "simple".

I am really confused to distinguish between them.

Kindly, give me some hints to explain the difference between them.

3 Answers 3


I don't know who I am and don't care.

Compound. Two independent clauses, either both with the same subject, even when in one of them the subject is implicit not explicit, or different subjects:

I made dinner and she washed the dishes.

Complex. One of the clauses cannot stand alone as a "statement":

I don't know who I am ... when the alcohol | drug | spirit-guide is talking.

  • There is a question mark in some quarters over implicit subjects. For example, the following is described as a simple sentence by Grammar Revolution".: *Lewis and Alice played in the backyard and read in the house.(english-grammar-revolution.com/compound-sentences.html) I don't pretend to know who's right. Sep 22, 2018 at 22:35
  • "I don't know who I am and don't care": don't care cannot stand on its own. The basic definition of a compound sentence is that is contains two independent clauses, joined by a conjunction. In any event, getting into implicit subjects is beyond the scope of this question.
    – Lambie
    Sep 22, 2018 at 23:24
  • 1
    @Lambie: Are you asserting that "don't care" is a subordinate clause? Sep 23, 2018 at 14:18
  • I got up and opened the door. That is a complex sentence. It has one independent clause (I got up) and one dependent clause (opened the door: that cannot stand on its own.

a complex sentence: has an independent and dependent clause

  • I got up and I opened the door. That is a compound sentences (two independant clauses, joined by an and).

a compound sentence has two independent clauses that are combined using a conjunction

A simple sentence has only one independent clause: I got up. He likes ice-cream. An independent clause has to have: a subject,a verb and often an object but not always.


How to identify a simple sentence?

A simple sentence contains a subject and a verb, and it may also have other elements that lengthen simple sentences.
For example:

  • I got up.
  • I opened the door.
  • She is reading a book.
  • Mark and I are watching a movie.

In above sentences,

  • (I, She, Mark and I- compound subject) are subject
  • (Got up, opened, reading) are verbs
  • (Door, book, movie) are objects.

I guess we can call simple sentences as independent clauses also.

How to identify a compound sentence?

  • Check for conjunctions like = and, so, but, yet, or
  • Check if there are 2 independent clauses in the sentence.

By independent I mean both clauses should have a subject and a verb, and it may also have other elements.
Once you identify these two statements, remove the conjunction see if they make sense individually, when the other clause is removed.

For example: (a) I got up and (b) I opened the door. 

When you remove (a) from the sentence, it still makes sense.

I opened the door.

Now when you remove (b), the remaining sentence also looks fine.

I got up.

How to identify a complex sentence?

  • Check if there is an independent clause or the main clause in the sentence. (At least 1 independent clause, there can be more).
  • Check if there is a dependent clause or a subordinate clause whose existence depends solely on the independent clause identified in step 1. (At least 1 dependent clause, there can be more).

If you remove the independent clause from the complex sentence, the remaining would not make sense.

(a) I got up (Independent clause or main clause) and (b) opened the door (dependent clause) .

“I got up” is a complete sentence in itself.
On the other hand “opened the door” is not.

If you remove “I got up” from the sentence, “opened the door” will be considered as an incomplete sentence. It lacks a subject (I) that independent clause was providing earlier.

I got up and opened the door. is an example of a complex sentence.

Compound-complex sentence. There’s a fourth type of sentence called the Compound-complex sentence.
It will have 2 or more independent clauses and at least 1 or more dependent clauses.

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