May 11, 2017

Complex and Compound-Complex Sentences

What is a Complex sentence?

A complex sentence is a sentence which consists of one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses. Here are some examples.

  • I don’t eat what I don’t like.
  • When I miss my Mom I open her cupboard to see her picture.

There are two clauses in example  – ‘I don’t eat’ and ‘what I don’t like’. The first clause is an independent clause which can stand by itself and so it is called the main clause or principal clause. But the second clause cannot stand by itself. It depends on the first clause. It is therefore called a subordinate clause. In second example, there are three clauses – when I miss my mom’,I open her cupboard, and ‘to see her picture’. Here the main clause is ‘When I miss my mom’, and the other two are subordinate clauses.

The compound-complex sentence

A compound complex sentence is a sentence which contains two or more main clauses and one or more subordinate clauses. Examples:

  • I played game and listened to music on cellphone as long as it rained.
  • I can understand your pain, but what I can’t understand is as to how you mustered courage and finally signed the divorce paper.

There are two main clauses in the first example‘I played game’ and ‘listened to music on cellphone’

and one subordinate clause- as long as it rained.’

There are two main clauses in the second example: ‘I can understand your pain’ and but what I can’t understand is’.

There are two subordinate clauses too- how you mustered courage’ and finally signed the divorce paper’