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Complex Sentence: Definition and Examples of Complex Sentences


Complex sentence in English grammar. Here you will find the definition and useful examples of complex sentences in English. You will also learn how to use this type of sentence correctly in writing.

Complex Sentence

What Is a Complex Sentence?

A complex sentence is a sentence that is composed of one or more dependent clauses and a single independent clause. A dependent clause is also known as a subordinate clause. An independent clause is a complete sentence on its own, unlike a dependent clause that depends on other clauses to express a complete idea. A sentence is said to be complex if it contains the two clauses (independent and dependent).

A complex sentence only differs from a compound sentence in that it has a single independent clause, while a compound sentence has two independent clauses.

Independent and Dependent Clauses

Let’s look at the examples of complex sentences involving dependent and independent clauses:

A complete sentence on its own. Consider the following examples:

  • Hazard excelled in his studies.

This sentence is complete on its own because it expresses a complete thought and has a noun phrase and a verb phrase.

Let’s take a look at a dependent clause, which is not meaningful on its own.

  • While Hazard excelled in his studies.

Even though the sentence has a subject (Hazard) and (excelled) as a verb, it’s not complete on its own. Additional information is required to make it complete.

An independent and dependent clause can link up in any order to form a complex sentence.

Consider the following example where an independent precedes the dependent clause:

  • I was not pleased with her because she didn’t clean the house.

The following is an example where an independent clause comes after the dependent clause.

  • Because she didn’t clean the house, I was not pleased with her.

Subordinate conjunctions are used to link up the two clauses. “while,” “since,” “when,” “after” are some of the subordinate conjunctions used to link up the clauses. A comma is used to separate the two if the dependent clause comes before the independent one.

Typical Complex Sentence Examples

Let’s consider some of the typical examples of the complex sentence relating to our day to day lives. The words in bold represent independent clauses on each of the following examples:

  • Since it was raining, I used an umbrella to get into the house.
  • Although she had won the race, she was still not excited.
  • He returned the book after he realized it was not being used anymore.
  • Whenever it rains, people opt to stay indoors.
  • Since I had to complete the test and time was not on my side, I didn’t manage to walk out of the exam room when the test was ongoing.
  • Wherever you are, keep the Sabbath holy.
  • Although the exercise was tedious, it was fruitful in the end.
  • The festive season was fascinating, as I had predicted.
  • Now that he has graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, he can run his own clinic.
  • Even though he has all the construction tools, he doesn’t get it right.
  • After spending heavily on the festive season, there was nothing left to pay for her school fees.
  • You should have a check-up on your tooth because it doesn’t look okay.
  • The teacher was happy he got the opportunity to address the congregation even though time was limited.
  • After the post-election violence, the country was left in crisis.
  • When she was in school, she dreamed of becoming a pilot.
  • I have to work out on the project in case I get some free time tomorrow.
  • Let’s go back to the house because it’s where we get shelter.
  • Although my mum convinced me, I declined to accompany my niece.
  • After being away for some time, she still loved her boyfriend.
  • When he declined to return the lost book, the headteacher suspended him from school.
  • I didn’t admire the cinema, although the viewers found it fascinating.
  • As we head to the holidays, remember to take care of yourselves.

When to Use Complex Sentences

Writers, at times, get confused about when it’s the right time to use complex sentences in their writing. To use a complex sentence, you need first to understand the intent of the message you want to share.

The problem with simple sentences is that you cannot share additional information other than a single action that an individual subject took. With a complex sentence, you can share additional information, the sequence of events and any other information you feel is relevant.

Complex sentences can also be used to form the basis of a claim, relate and contrast thoughts, and link up together ideas that share similarities into a single point. Complex sentences make it easy to understand what the sentence entails, unlike simple sentences. Here is an example:

  • I’m going to travel
  • I am going to travel even though it is raining.

The first sentence is simple, while the second one is a complex sentence.

Writers prefer to use complex sentences because of their sentence variety. The use of different sentences in content makes it exciting and encourages the readers to read your content frequently. Sentence variety involves the use of various kinds of sentence structures in your content in a manner you would like them to appear. Writing that only involves the use of similar sentences can discourage the from reading because there are likely to get bored before they get into the middle of your content. Always embrace the use of complex sentences in your writing to motivate your readers to read your entire content.

Complex sentences are a great inclusion to our content as it makes it appealing and engaging to our readers. The link-up of the two clauses (independent and dependent) makes the content much more meaningful and presents us the opportunity to add more information in a sentence.

You have to be careful when it comes to the use of a comma. A comma should only be added whenever there is a pause or a distinction. It’s essential to read your content as if you’re talking to someone, as this will help find areas that require a comma.

Adopt the use of complex sentences in your writing because it makes it fun and allows you to express a thought or an idea in a more detailed manner. Don’t forget to check out on the usage of commas to get it right.

Complex Sentence Infographic

Complex Sentence

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