Sentence types

We teach a wide variety of sentence types at QPA. Here are some examples from Year 5. ‘MC’ stands for ‘Main Clause’, a clause that can stand alone and still make sense. ‘SC’ stands for ‘subordinate clause’, a clause that relies on a main clause for it to make sense. All clauses require a subject and a verb.


The word ‘determiner’ was introduced to the primary curriculum last year. This class of words relate directly to nouns but are not adjectives – they ‘determine’ the noun.

There are four main types of determiner:

  1. Quantifiers – any number or amount before a noun, e.g. three chairs, many books, few people
  2. Articles – the articles are a, an and the
  3. Demonstratives – this, that, those, which…
  4. Possessives – ours, my, your, their…

We teach the pupils to identify determiners by finding the noun, investigating which words relate to the noun and then disregarding any adjectives.

Embedded clauses

Embedded clauses are clauses that are added into the middle of a sentence. They are different to parenthesis (see previous post) as they require a subject and a verb.

No embedded clause

Fran went to Paris on her holidays.

Embedded clause

Fran went to Paris, where she had never been before, on her holidays.


Parenthesis is a specific term used within writing lessons, when additional information is inserted into sentences. This can be done using three different pairs of punctuation marks.

No parenthesis

Bournemouth has a very long beach.

With parenthesis

Bournemouth, situated on the south coast of the United Kingdom, has a very long beach.

Bournemouth (a large town in the United Kingdom) has a very long beach.

Bournemouth – located within the United Kingdom – has a very long beach.

Subordinating conjunctions

All conjunctions join clauses. Some are coordinating and some are subordinating. Subordinating conjunctions are placed before subordinate clauses. These clauses cannot stand on their own.

MC SC sentences

These sentences have a main clause, then a subordinating conjunction and then a subordinate clause.

We went to the beach when we were bored.

‘When we were bored’ is subordinating because it cannot stand on its own.

SC, MC sentences

These sentences place the subordinate clause first in the sentence.

When we were bored, we went to the beach.

A white bus

A good way to remember which conjunctions are subordinating is ‘A white bus’:

Although When However IThough Even though Because Until Since

Clauses and coordinating conjunctions

Many thanks to the parents who asked for some information regarding vocabulary being used to teach Literacy. We are going to put some information onto the blog to explain some of the terms that the children use, beginning with coordinating conjunctions.

Clauses contain at least a subject and a verb: ‘We went shopping’.

A main clause can stand alone and still make sense: ‘We bought a loaf of bread’. We record these clauses as MC.

Conjunctions are words that link clauses together to make longer sentences. Coordinating conjunctions link two main clauses together: We went shopping and we bought a loaf of bread’. We record these with the code MC co-co MC.

The main coordinating conjunctions spell FANBOYS:


We’ve worked hard on these. Can anyone write a sentence with a semi-colon used accurately? Can you really push yourself and write two sentences showing different uses for a semi-colon?