In order to be able to work on our long and complex sentences, first we have to understand what the expression refers to, and how do we actually form them. For most learners acquiring simple sentences comes easy and very handy in day to day communication. However if you wish to expand your writing skills or upgrade your speaking eloquence you will need to learn how to form long and complex sentences.
Complex sentences are tricky components of the English language. When we say complex sentences we mean a sentence that contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause.
But what is each? An independent clause has the ability to stand alone as a sentence. It always makes a complete thought. A dependent clause cannot stand alone, even though it has a subject and a verb.
Additionally, complex sentences are friends and neighbors to compound sentences. There’s just one tinny difference. Compound sentences contain two independent clauses - that's all there is to it!
Let's see how it works on actual examples.
Here are some common complex sentences. In each example, the independent clause is underlined.
Because my coffee was too cold, I heated it in the microwave.
Although he was wealthy, he was still unhappy.
She returned the computer after she noticed it was damaged.
Whenever prices go up, customers buy fewer products.
Because I had to catch the train, and as we were short on time, I forgot to pack my toothbrush for our vacation.
Aren’t complex sentences fascinating? When used correctly, they can add depth and meaning to our writing. Remember, complex sentences contain an independent clause and at least one dependent clause, meaning it can contain many!
Let's explain an independent clause, one that can stand alone:
Mary sipped on her cappuccino.
This is an independent clause because it's a complete sentence containing a subject and a verb and fully expressing an idea.
Now let's see a dependent clause, one that does not fully express an idea:
While Mary sipped on her cappuccino
Although this sentence contains a subject (Mary) and a verb (sipped), it's not a complete thought - we still need more information. Therefore, it's not a complete sentence.
Finally, when an independent and a dependent clause join together to form a complex sentence, they can go in either order. With time you will be able to develop a sixth sense which will help you decide.
Below you can find a video with super easy and clear explanations on how to learn to form your own complex sentences. I hope you will enjoy it and start working on this precious skill today!