Sentence structure is remarkably significant for effective communication. And complex sentences are an appealing part of sentence structure in the English language. Through appropriate employment of complex sentences, we can lend profoundness to our writing. We may also make our interactions better and more impressive.


Complex sentence definition

A Complex sentence is a sentence that comprises an independent clause and one or more than one dependent clauses. We have already seen that a clause consists of a group of words including a verb and a subject.
An independent clause, on the one hand, can stand alone and conveys the full meaning; while, on the other hand, the dependent clause cannot stand alone and it is unable to impart the complete meaning. It needs a supplementary independent clause to give out a comprehensive thought. 

For instance:

“Jane sipped on her coffee” 

is an independent clause with a subject and verb conveying the whole meaning.


“while Jane sipped on her coffee” 

is a dependent clause with incomplete sense. Although the clause has a subject (Jane) and a verb (sipped), it’s not expressing complete information.
A complex sentence can be formed by arranging the clauses (independent & dependent) in different manners i.e.:

  • By keeping the independent clause first e.g. I skipped the breakfast because I was getting late
  • By placing the dependent clause before the independent one e.g. because I was getting late, I skipped the breakfast

The clauses in a complex sentence are joined by subordinate conjunctions such as “while, since, after, because of, etc.” Some more examples of subordinate conjunctions are as follows:
Although, as if, as long as, as soon as, before, even though, even if, unless, till, until, whenever, whether, rather than, provided that, in order that, so that, so long as, before, etc. and the list goes on.
It is to be kept in mind that subordinate conjunctions put forward noun or adverb clauses. Adverb clauses show how, why, and under what circumstances something occurred.
You will have to keep in mind the proper way to make a complex sentence. If you choose to put the dependent clause first, then you will need to separate the clauses with the use of a comma. 

For example, carefully look at the following complex sentence and note the comma; “since it was raining, she took an umbrella before going out”.
A complex sentence consisting of two or more than two independent clauses, as well as dependent clauses, formulates a compound sentence.


Complex Sentence Examples

To get a deeper understanding of complex sentences, go through the following elaborate Complex Sentence Examples:

  • If you aspire to grow in life, then change your mindset
  • Because I was starving, I ate the whole pizza
  • Although he passed the exam with a good grade, yet his father was not happy
  • When the demand rises, the prices also rise
  • She returned the book because she had already read it
  • Wherever he goes, he is adored by everybody
  • As he was ambitious and intelligent, he achieved his goals in a brief span of time
  • Because we were in a hurry, we forgot our passes at home
  • Even though she works hard, she still fails to pass the exam
  • After living abroad for many years, he returned home to serve his countrymen
  • When the baby fell down, the mother ran to pick him up
  • Although my friend requested me, I decided not to join his party
  • The trip was really good, as I anticipated
  • Since Christmas is coming, I think I need to save money for gifts
  • After the wind storm, everything was covered with dust
  • The child was happy because her mother bought her chocolates
  • Although he is sick, he still goes for work
  • She returned the dress after she found it defected
  • You need to take your car for service as it is giving out black smoke
  • When I bought her birthday cake, I had to make sure it’s chocolate
  • Although we had our meals on the train, yet I started feeling hungry
  • After a lot of practice, joe still struggled to win the school race
  • The teacher was happy because his student had won the first prize
  • Paul was overjoyed to get a part in school play even though it was small
  • I really don’t want to go to her party even though she is my close friend
  • You must go home before it is dark
  • Even though she was tired, she still got ready to go shopping
  • I want to watch a movie, but not a horror one
  • Even if you buy her expensive gifts, she still won’t be happy with you
  • The children were playing in the garden even though it was hot
  • When the bus arrived, everybody rushed to it

To dig deeper into complex sentences here is a fine example of a complex sentence from literature;

“Because he was so small, Stuart was often hard to find around the house.” – Stuart Little, E.B. White

While crafting your write-up, be conscious of placing a comma. Whenever you discern a distinction or pause from the independent clause, see whether you need to put a comma or not. It can be said that commas are the most significant grammatical tools that the English language offers. They weave a sentence, rendering unity and cohesion. The proper usage of commas is even more crucial in the formation of complex sentences. The general rule for a comma in a complex sentence is as follows;

A comma is used in case the complex sentence commences with a dependent clause. For instance, “because it was hot & sunny outside, I took an umbrella.”

If a complex sentence starts with an independent clause, we don’t need a comma. Note this sentence, “Let’s go to the park where our friends are waiting”.


Application of Complex Sentences:

In spite of the fact that the English language is complicated, it isn’t impossible to learn and master it. The same goes for complex sentences. Once you comprehend the concept of complex sentences, it will be fun to play with complex sentences and expressing your thoughts in an extraordinary way.

Thinking how to simplify complex sentences?

As already discussed in detail that complex sentences have the main clause (independent clause) and a subordinate clause (dependent or abstract); therefore, in order to simplify complex sentences, you will just need to determine the status of the clauses. Carefully identify the main clauses and subordinate clauses. And rest of the job gets so smooth. 

Furthermore, complex sentences are different from simple as well as compound sentences on the basis of the type of clauses. Though it is almost impossible to remember all the subordinating conjunctions that link the clauses in the complex sentences, there are some conjunctions that are used most commonly. In addition to these, there are also some relative pronouns that connect the clauses. 

Relative pronouns. They are five: who, whose, whom, which, and that, etc.

Moreover, another suggestion to simplify and distinguish complex sentences from compound sentences is to note that compound sentences involve independent clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions. Unlike subordinating conjunctions, coordinating conjunctions are only seven (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so, etc.) and easy enough to remember. Memorize the mnemonic fanboys and see whether the sentence has to subordinate conjunctions or one of these seven coordinating conjunctions. You will be able to easily recognize and comprehend complex sentences.

complex sentence examples dependent clauses

* Courtesy of Prepscholar



It is necessary to create engaging and appealing content to hold the readers and keep their interest intact. And this is not feasible unless you create a blend of well-written simple and complex sentences. No one enjoys reading anything that has a monotonous structure of simple sentences. That’s why you are required to thoroughly understand the concept and structure of complex sentences and practice building such sentences.

As soon as you grasp the concepts related to complex sentence structure (i.e., phrases, clauses main & subordinate or independent & dependent, relative pronouns, and subordinating conjunctions), you will be ready to startle the readers with your writing powers. 


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