Formal Letter and Sentence Types


Welcome to class! 

In today’s class, we will be talking about the formal letter and sentence types. Enjoy the class!

Formal Letter and Sentence Types




Do you still remember our last class, where we spoke about the features of the formal letter? Let’s take a practice today and get you busy.


Is there anything wrong with the following formal letter? If yes, discover the errors in it and correct them. Rewrite the letter in your note.

17, Constance Estate,



12 April 2020.

The Manager,

Modern Restaurant,



Dear Sir / Madam,

I’m writing to complain about a meal we had in ur restaurant yesterday.

We had booked a table for six, but when we arrived, there’re no free tables and we had to wait for more than 45 minutes to sit down. And I’m like, ‘seriously! Is this happening’?

From a menu of 12 dishes, only four was available, and the quality was damned poor. The fish tasted awful and the waiter was rude when we complained to him.

We’d eaten in ur restaurant several times in the past, but this first time we’ve received such bad treatment. I’m not asking for a refund, but I’d like you to improve the quality of your dishes and service.


Yours sincerely,



In our last class on sentences, I told you that there are two broad classifications of sentences, the Functional and the Structural types. We spoke more on the Functional type in that class. You can go back to revise it if you’ve forgotten most of the things I wrote there. In this class, we will focus primarily on the Structural type of sentences.

Now, stay with me.

Types of Sentences

There are four types of sentence under this aspect. They are listed below:

  1. The simple sentence
  2. The compound sentence
  3. The complex sentence, and
  4. The compound-complex sentence
  • The Simple Sentence, as I told you in the previous class, expresses a clear and complete thought and is also referred to as the main clause. See the examples below:
  1. The boy played the instruments.
  2. The girl sang.
  3. He should have come
  4. The mob was pursuing

Remember I also told you how to recognize simple sentences and clauses generally? They have just one verb or verb phrase each. The first and second examples above have a verb each, while the second and third examples contain a verb phrase each.

  • The Compound Sentence is a combination of two or more simple sentences (or main clauses) linked with a coordinating conjunction, or simply, coordinator.
  1. The boy played the instruments and the girl sang.
  2. I may go to him or you may invite him here.
  3. There are forty good chairs in the room but all the tables have disappeared.
  4. The boy cried out for help, and a neighbour fired into the air, but the burglars did not run

Note that there is no limit to how many clauses you can link together this way. However, to avoid ambiguity, the use of a comma can be employed to link a compound sentence of several clauses:

  1. The boy cried out for help, a neighbour fired into the air, but the burglars did not run
  2. The man drank the water, threw away the cup, wiped his mouth, smiled, and went

You can easily recognize the number of clauses here by the number of verbs functioning as predicators in the sentences. There are clauses (three simple sentences) in the first compound sentence above and there are five in the second. Do you understand that?

  • The Complex Sentence is a combination of two or more simple sentences (or main clauses) linked with a subordinating conjunction, or simply, subordinator.
  1. The boy played the instruments while the girl sang.
  2. He should have come here when the mob was pursuing
  3. They made him what he is
  4. Marvellous will receive the best prize because she will lead the class.

For more information on complex sentence, refer to the class note with the same title.

  • The Compound-complex Sentence, as the name implies, is the combination of compound and complex sentences.
  1. You should do what you have been told and stop the noise.
  2. They were angry when they heard the news and they ran home to report it to the other children.

The embolden verbal items shows how many clauses are there in each sentence. There are three clauses in the first while there are four clauses in the second (both main and subordinate clauses altogether). The underlined items, on the other hand, show the coordinators and the subordinators in the sentences.

General Evaluation

Pick an essay in your English Language past question series and write out four examples each of the following from the essay:

  1. Simple sentence
  2. Compound sentence
  3. Complex sentence
  4. Compound-complex sentence


In our next class, we will be talking about Informal Letter, Vocabulary Development and Reading.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

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