What Is A Complex Sentence? (With Examples)

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Have you ever run into a sentence that was super long and complex? If so, you were probably coming across what is called a complex sentence. So, what is a complex sentence?

Complex sentences can be really helpful for nuanced writing, but if not executed correctly, they can come off as convoluted. A complex sentence is made up of one main clause (or independent clause) and at least one dependent clause which would be linked to it.

The key distinction between the two types of clauses is that a main clause can stand on its own as a fully formed sentence while a dependent clause cannot. An example of a simple complex sentence could be: “I like to cook with spices because they make the food more flavorful.” In this sentence “I like to cook with spices” is the main independent clause while “because they make the food more flavorful” is the dependent clause. Knowing how to structure complex sentences can help you construct your writing in interesting ways!

What Is a Complex Sentence

What is a Complex Sentence?

At its most basic, a complex sentence contains one independent clause (also known as the main clause) and one or more dependent clauses that relate to the main clause in terms of meaning or syntax. The dependent clause (or subordinate clause) provides additional information about the main clause but cannot stand alone as it does not contain a complete thought.

Benefits of Recognizing Complex Sentences

Recognizing complex sentences can help students learn more effectively in both the English language and any subject that requires the ability to communicate through writing. With a working knowledge of complex sentences, ideas can be expressed in a more articulate and meaningful way, which allows readers or listeners to better understand the message.

In addition, this type of sentence structure can provide subtle hints of emphasis, allowing writers to draw attention to certain parts of their work and create stronger persuasive arguments. Through practice and repetition, recognizing and constructing complex sentences will allow students to become pros at crafting thoughtfully-structured pieces that get their point across.

Basic Structure of a Complex Sentence

Complex sentences are an essential tool for any writer. Knowing how to build one properly can help you express sophisticated ideas and make powerful statements. A complex sentence is built around a main clause, which expresses the central creating them in your writing!

Examples of Complex Sentences

Complex sentences can be a great addition to any piece of writing, as they allow for more specific detail and increase the reader’s engagement. A complex grammar,” and “When the sun rises each morning, I look forward to beginning my day with a run.

As you can see, both sentences contain an independent clause along with another clause that further elaborates on the topic. Furthermore, these two examples highlight how utilizing complex sentences can help bring stories to life, as well as make them easier for readers to comprehend.

Parts of Speech in a Complex Sentence

Complex sentences are a great way to add variety to your writing, and understanding the parts of speech that make up a complex sentence will help you craft them effectively. Every complex sentence must contain an independent clause as well as one or more dependent clauses. The two types of clauses that can be used in a complex sentence are conjunctive adverbs, which create cause-and-effect relationships, and prepositional phrases, which introduce additional information based on location or time.

A helpful tip for determining the part of speech in a complex sentence is to break down each clause into smaller components – verbs, nouns, adjectives, and so on – then arrange these components into structures that convey the intended meaning. With practice, you’ll be able to construct complex sentences with ease!

Types of Subordinates Used in Complex Sentences

Complex sentences can be incredibly useful when communicating with someone, but they must be constructed correctly. The basic structure of a complex sentence involves one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses. The subordinate clauses are the key element that gives the sentence its complexity and are usually found at the beginning or end of the sentence.

The most common types of subordinate clauses used in complex sentences are conditional, relative, temporal and concessive. Additionally, these subordinate clauses add depth and detail to nullify any ambiguity in the communication by further explaining what is being said in the main clause. Understanding different types of subordinate clauses will help you inject clarity into your texts, no matter how complex they may be.

Advantages of Using Complex Sentences

Complex sentences provide an enticing and engaging way to communicate ideas in writing. With their varied arrangement of words, complex sentences can create suspense and hold the attention of readers, allowing the writer to easily transition between topics without sounding repetitive or dull. They also emphasize key points, allowing ideas to be presented clearly while still maintaining a captivating tone.

And because they allow specific parts of a sentence to be emphasized, complex sentences can help simplify more complicated topics. All these advantages make them useful tools for any type of written material—from novels to blogging posts—allowing writers to quickly engage readers and memorably deliver their message.

Strategies for Constructing Complex Sentences

When it comes to constructing complex sentences effectively, there are a few key strategies you can use. Varied sentence lengths add a nice rhythm to writing and help keep your reader engaged. Depending on the complexity of the situation you’re describing, using compound-complex or even simple sentences to simplify the idea or sentiment can be an effective way to ensure the fuller meaning is communicated accurately.

Additionally, deploying modifiers like adverbs and adjectives, in addition to dependent and independent clauses, will help create clarity in your message as well as add life to your writing style. Utilizing these strategies when constructing complex sentences can help you craft a striking piece of writing.

Punctuation Rules for Complex Sentences

Writing complex sentences adds sophistication to your work, and punctuating them correctly will help readers understand them easily. It is important to remember that a complex sentence contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause. For the dependent clause, use a subordinating conjunction such as although, because, for, etc. Additionally, you need to separate it from the main clause with either a comma or a semicolon.

And, you can also add punctuation depending on your writing style – commas to make things clearer in long lists, semicolons in related clauses that aren’t joined by conjunctions, and other marks like dashes or question marks where necessary. Even though understanding the intricacies of punctuation rules takes practice, mastering these skills will give your writing greater depth and coherence.


A complex sentence is made up of one main clause and at least one subordinate clause which provides more detail or explanation. It allows for more detailed information to be communicated without using multiple sentences. Additionally, the varied arrangement of words creates an engaging tone that holds the reader’s interest, allowing ideas to be presented clearly while still maintaining a captivating style.


What is a complex sentence?

A complex sentence is a type of sentence structure in which an independent clause (a complete thought) is combined with one or more dependent clauses (incomplete thoughts). The main clause in the sentence provides the main idea, while the dependent clause often adds additional information to explain and enhance that idea.

How do I know if a sentence is a complex one?

A good way to identify whether a sentence is considered complex or not is by looking for words such as “since,” “when,” “although,” and “because.” These words indicate that there may be two distinct ideas within the same sentence. Additionally, you can look for any subordinate conjunctions — like “since,” “when,” and “because” — which are used to connect two clauses.

Can you provide an example of a complex sentence?

Sure! Here is an example of a complex sentence: “Although I was tired, I went to the store.” In this sentence, the main clause is “I went to the store,” and the dependent clause is “although I was tired.” The dependent clause further explains why the action (going to the store) occurred. Another example would be: “When I arrived home, my dog welcomed me with excited barks.” The main clause in this sentence is “my dog welcomed me with excited barks” and the dependent clause is “when I arrived home.” The dependent clause provides the context of when the action (the dog barking) occurred.

What are some other examples of complex sentences?

Here are more examples of complex sentences:

  • “Because it was raining, we stayed inside.”
  • Since she was late, she had to run to get to class on time.
  • “Although he was busy, he still made time to help me with my project.”
  • “When I saw her face, all my worries dissipated.”
  • “Even though I wasn’t feeling well, I still went to work.”

These examples demonstrate how a simple sentence can become much more interesting and informative when a dependent clause is added. These clauses provide additional context and detail, making the sentence more complex but also more interesting to read.

Are there any situations in which it’s better to use a complex sentence?

Yes! Complex sentences are especially useful for providing extra information or details about an idea without breaking up the main thought into multiple sentences. They can create smoother, more natural-sounding language while still conveying important information. Additionally, they are often used when discussing comparison/contrasts (for example, “Although I was tired, I went to the store”) or cause and effect relationships (“Because it was raining, we stayed inside”). By using this type of sentence, you can quickly and easily express multiple ideas in a single statement.

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