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Complex Sentences in English Grammar

Complex Sentences in English Grammar

Sentence

Before studying complex sentences, let’s take a review of sentence first. Group of words that gives a complete sense or meaning is called a sentence. It can be in the form of a statement, a command, an exclamation, or a question.

  • I am collecting data for my thesis. (Sentence)
  • Collecting data for my thesis. (Not a sentence)
  • Both of the above examples are groups of words. The first one gives a complete thought. On the other hand, the second one is a group of words, but it does not give complete meaning.

    Sentences are structurally categorized into four types. In this article, the discussion is about complex sentences in English Grammar. You can study the remaining types in the site of Study English Page.

    Definition of Complex Sentence

    We define a complex sentence as a sentence that has one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. Complex sentence is an option to explain the main point in better way.

    It is also necessary to know about the key terms like clause, dependent clause, independent clause, and subordinating conjunctions.

  • Clause is a group of words having subject and verb. Independent clause is a clause that can stand alone to give complete sense. Dependent clause depends on other clause to give complete sense. By itself it does not give a sense.

    There are more subordinating conjunctions. They are after, before, although, when, or if etc. Basically, they create dependent clauses or create links between dependent and independent clauses.

    • If you give full time to your project, you will complete it successfully.

    The first clause in this example is dependent clause. It depends on the second clause to give a complete thought. Without the second clause, it does not make a sense. On the other hand, the second one can stand alone and give complete sense. When they are joined together, they form a complex sentence. The complex sentence modifies the main point well.

    Complex Sentences in English Grammar


     
    More Examples of Complex Sentences

    • I wash my hands before I start eating.
    • He apologized after I noticed his fault.
    • I was playing game when the electricity went off.
    • Although it was snowing, we decided to go on picnic.
    • I donated him the book which you had bought for me.
    • Whenever it snows, we go outside and enjoy the weather.
    • She waited for us at the bus station until we reached there.
    • We had taken him to the hospital by the time you called me.
    • Ali will score the highest if he will give more time to his studies.
    • He was terminated because he was not going to the office on time.
    • If they came on time, and if we bought everything early, we would not reach later.
    • If I have class with you, I would teach you complex sentences in English Grammar.
    • Formation of Complex Sentences

      When you have knowledge about dependent clause, independent clause, and subordinating conjunction, it becomes easy to form a complex sentence. Forming of complex sentence is just linking dependent and independent clauses by using any subordinating conjunction or relative pronoun. It is your choice to use dependent clause at first or independent clause. Remember that dependent clause is followed by a comma if it is used at front.

      Subordinating conj + dependent clause + comma + independent clause

      • When it rained, the weather became romantic.
      • As I remembered my assignment, I left everything and started doing that.

      Independent clause + subordinating conj + dependent clause

      • The weather became romantic when it rained.
      • I left everything and started doing that as I remembered my assignment.

      Key Points

      Using One Independent Clause

      As we discussed earlier, a complex sentence has just one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. Don't make a mistake to use more than one independent clause.

      • If he comes next Sunday, we will have dinner out. Correct
      • If he comes next Sunday, we will go on a picnic, and we will also have dinner out. Incorrect

      Usage of Comma

      It must be in your mind to use comma correctly in complex sentences. You need to use comma after dependent clause if it comes first. Remember that we are talking about a comma that is related to dependent clause. You many need to use commas in other circumstances.

      • We had taken him to the hospital when he died.
      • When he died, we had taken him to the hospital.

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