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Sentence: The Complex Sentence

Writing the Complex Sentence
by

David Keck

on 13 January 2012

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Transcript of Sentence: The Complex Sentence

The Simple Sentence
A sentence is the smallest group of words that can stand alone and still make sense.
Definition:
A sentence is one complete thought.
A Simple Sentence has
2 Parts:
The Subject:
The person, place, or thing that acts
The Predicate:
The action the subject takes
+
"The Rhino" = Subject
"Charges" = Predicate
Punctuating Compound Sentences
P
unctuating a simple sentence is easy
, but
compound sentences need a conjunction and a comma
.
Capitalize only the first sentence.
Use a comma where the first period used to be....
A sentence is one complete thought.
"The rhino charges." = A Complete Sentence.
And
But
Or
Nor
So
Yet
Compound Sentence Conjunctions:
Connecting sentences that could stand alone.
Let's Review
,
.
Conjunctions show how ideas are connected.
Add variety.
Use Compound Sentences
Powerful and easy, complex sentences give the writer a world of flexibility. Just take two simple sentences and connect them with a linking word from the huge list of “subordinating conjunctions.” The linking word doesn’t even have to be in the middle.
The Complex Sentence
You only need one
CAPITAL
.
Connect with a
conjunction
.
You don’t need a comma when the linking word is between the original sentences.
You only need one period.
C
omplex sentences are easy
although
they sound a little scary
.
First Sentence

Linking Word

Second “Sentence”
I want this car
because
it’s got a spoiler.
I bought this house
although
it does need work.
Milk comes out of my nose
whenever
I laugh.
His new car exploded
even though
he was a mechanic.
Sample Complex Sentences
Subordinating conjunctions connect complex sentences. There is a huge number of subordinating conjunctions, and this gives complex sentences a big advantage. You can make very precise connections between ideas.
before
even if
even though
if
if only
in order that
now that
once
rather than
since
so that
though
till
unless
until
when
whenever
after
although
as
as if
as long as
as though
because
Conjunctions for Complex Sentences
Complex Sentences are Everywhere
Although you may not have heard of complex sentences, people use them all the time. Every child has heard sentences like:
Until you eat your vegetables, you can’t have dessert.
After you finish your homework, you can go out to play.
As long as you live under my roof, you will obey my rules!

These are all complex sentences.
Reversing the Complex Sentence
The second big advantage of the complex sentence is that you can reverse it. Your linking word can come first. (Note: This is the only time “because” can start a complete sentence). The only thing to remember is the comma between the two linked sentences.
Because
I can reverse this sentence
,
you know it's complex.

When
it makes sense
,
start with the linking word (subordinating conjunction).
When the linking word starts the sentence, you need a comma.
Conjunction & First “Sentence” Second Sentence
Because
it’s got a spoiler
,
I want this car.
Although
it does need work
,
I bought this house.
Whenever
I laugh
,
milk comes out of my nose.
Even though
he was a mechanic
,
his new car exploded.
Sample Sentences Reversed
Sentence
conjunction*
sentence.
Grammar Note
Technically, each of the original sentences is called a
clause
when it becomes part of a new, bigger sentence..
*Subordinating conjunction
A clause that could stand alone as a sentence is called an
independent
clause.
A
dependent
clause is a clause that cannot stand alone.
A subordinating conjunction makes an
independent
clause
dependent.
(It's like a demotion).
Compound Sentence
Independent Clause +
Comma
+
Conjunction
+ Independent Clause
Independent Clause +
Subordinating Conjunction
+ Dependent Clause
Complex Sentence
or
Subordinating Conjunction
+ Dependent Clause +
Comma
+ Independent Clause
"Sentences are easy
, but
you should know the rules."
"
Sentences are easy
when
you know the rules."
"
When
you know the rules
,
sentences are easy."
Simple Sentence
Subject + Predicate
"The simple sentence has two parts."
Remember:
Sentences From Simple to Complex
Full transcript