myQBook Grammar Concept



Complex Sentence

A complex sentence consists of an independent clause connected to a dependent (subordinate) clause. Complex sentences are useful in writing because they can provide meaningful transitions between ideas in one sentence.

Just as in a compound sentence, the clauses in a complex sentence should have a useful relationship with each other. It does not make sense to join two random clauses together just to create a complex sentence. Consider the following examples:

Even though karate was Abigail’s favorite sport, she spent a lot of time playing other sports.

I heard my dogs barking furiously before the earthquake struck.

In the first example, the dependent clause, “Even though…favorite sport” comes before the independent clause, “she spent…other sports.” These two clauses are related because they are both describing the sports that Abigail plays; they are connected by the subordinate conjunction “even though” and a comma (the subordinating conjunction may not be between the two clauses, but it still connects them).

 

In the second example, the dependent clause, “before the earthquake struck”, comes after the independent clause, “I heard my dogs barking furiously”. These two clauses are related because they both relate scenes from the same event; they are connected by the subordinating conjunction “before”.

There are a few punctuation rules that you need to follow when placing dependent clauses in complex sentences.

·         When the dependent clause comes before the independent clause, it can be thought of as an introductory clause; this usually requires a comma after the dependent clause. The comma separates the dependent clause from the independent clause. For example:

 

Once the vaccination is ready, it will be distributed to the hospitals around the world.

 

In this example, a comma follows the introductory dependent clause “Once the vaccination is ready”, separating it from the independent clause.

 

·         When the dependent clause comes after the independent clause, it does not require a comma before it. For example:

 

The vaccination will be distributed to hospitals around the world once it is ready.

 

Here, since the dependent clause “once it is ready” follows the independent clause, no comma is necessary.

 

·         When the dependent clause comes in between the independent clause, use commas depending on if the dependent clause is necessary to the meaning of the sentence. For example:

 

The vaccination that is ready will be distributed to hospitals around the world.

 

The vaccination, which is now ready, will be distributed to hospitals around the world.

 

In the first example, the dependent clause is necessary to the meaning of the sentence; therefore, it doesn’t require commas to separate it from the independent clause.

 

In the second example, the dependent clause is not necessary to the meaning of the sentence, so it does require commas to separate it from the independent clause.

 

Notice that the meanings of the two example sentences are not the same. For more information on the usage of “that” and “which”, see the “Pronouns” section of “Parts of Speech”

 

 





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Compound Sentence
Active and Passive Sentences

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