English Language
Complex Sentence

Complex Sentence

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Understanding Complex Sentences

Complex sentences are one of the four types of sentences in the English language. They consist of an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses, which provide additional information or reasons for something. These sentences are longer and more complex than simple and compound sentences.

In order to construct a complex sentence, it is important to understand the difference between independent and dependent clauses. While both contain a subject and a verb, they serve different functions. Independent clauses can stand alone as sentences, while dependent clauses rely on an independent clause to form a complete thought. To join these clauses, subordinating conjunctions, relative pronouns, and punctuation must be used.

Creating a Complex Sentence

To form a complex sentence, one must use the correct subordinating conjunction and include a comma. The placement of the comma depends on the order of the clauses. Some commonly used subordinating conjunctions include "when," "after," "while," and "because," while relative pronouns such as "who," "which," and "that" can also be used.

Examples of Complex Sentences

Here are some examples of complex sentences, with the independent clause in bold and the linking word in purple.

  • When she discovered the truth, she was heartbroken.
  • Because he missed the bus, he was late for work.
  • The book that she borrowed was overdue.

When to Use Complex Sentences

Complex sentences are often used in both spoken and written English because they allow for a lot of information to be included in a concise manner. They provide additional detail and reasons for something by adding multiple dependent clauses to the independent clause. For example:

He returned the parcel after he realized it was damaged.

In this sentence, the dependent clause explains why the man is returning the parcel, adding more detail to the independent clause.

Identifying a Complex Sentence

To identify a complex sentence, one must consider the number and type of clauses it contains. A complex sentence has at least two clauses: one independent and one or more dependent. If there is only one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses, it is a complex sentence.

On the other hand, a compound-complex sentence contains at least two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses. If there is only one independent clause and at least one dependent clause, it is not a compound sentence.

In Conclusion

Complex sentences are a useful tool in the English language, providing a concise way to add detail and give reasons. By understanding the difference between dependent and independent clauses, as well as the correct use of subordinating conjunctions and punctuation, one can easily identify and create complex sentences. Remember, if there is one independent clause and at least one dependent clause, it is undoubtedly a complex sentence.

What is a Compound-Complex Sentence?

A compound-complex sentence is similar to a complex sentence, but it contains at least two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses. This sentence type is often longer and provides a lot of information in a concise manner.

The Difference Between Compound and Complex Sentences

The main difference between a compound and complex sentence is the presence of dependent clauses. Complex sentences have at least one independent and one dependent clause, while compound sentences do not have any dependent clauses. So, if there is a dependent clause, it cannot be a compound sentence.

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