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Seeing the rain come on, we took shelter.

This sentence looks like a complex sentence with a main and an independent clause. But the book says it is a simple sentence. Which is correct?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The introductory phrase Seeing the rain come on is not a clause because it contains no subject-verb relationship. It is a so-called participial phrase.

Hence, we have only one independent clause and no dependent clauses. Your sentence, therefore, is simple.

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Shouldn't that be precipital phrase. :-) –  Urbycoz Jul 27 '12 at 13:35
    
The initial participial clause seeing the rain come on has the subject we (or our in this case), which is deleted, just like the subject we (or us) of the infinitive to go is deleted in We want to go, because it's predictable from the subject we of the main clause. So I'm afraid it's a complex sentence. Any non-auxiliary verb heads a clause, whether it's got a subject or not. –  John Lawler Jul 27 '12 at 16:01
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