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Complex Sentence Writing

What is a complex sentence? First, it helps to understand two other types of sentences. A simple sentence contains a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought. It might look like this, "The dog sat," but can be much longer as well. Sometimes we need to include more in a sentence and we need to understand how to write it correctly when we do. A compound sentence joins two independent clauses, which means they could stand on their own as sentences. For example, "I was too busy to play, so he went outside without me."

A complex sentence has an independent clause that can stand on its own as a sentence. It also has one or more dependent clauses. These cannot stand on their own. Words like because, when, or after, might indicate a complex sentence.

  • When I walked downstairs, I had a big surprise.

I had a big surprise is the independent clause. When I walked downstairs is the dependent clause because it is not a complete sentence on its own.

Here are a couple more examples of complex sentences.

  • After the big storm, the neighbors helped pick up branches.
  • Because I didn’t clean my room, I wasn’t allowed to watch television.

Time4Writing provides practice in this area. Try a sample resource from our Elementary Paragraphs course or browse other related courses.

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