There are two more sentence types that you are now ready to learn. As their names suggest, they are a bit more complicated than the first two. However, they also make your writing sound more complicated, so learning how to use them is well worth it. You should demonstrate and understanding of basic parts of speech, phrases and clauses, and simple and compound sentences before completing this lesson.
Complex Sentence: A complex sentence consists of ONE independent clause (shown in italics) and ONE OR MORE dependent clauses (shown bold). They can come in any order in the sentence.
After I saw the movie, I went home.
The example above has the DC come first, so a comma must come right after it.
I get nervous when the doctor calls my name while I am sitting in the waiting room. (1 independent clause, 2 dependent clauses.)
The example above has and Independent clause come first, so there are no commas needed in the rest of a sentence. Notice how it has two DCs, but since it only has one other IC, it still counts as a complex sentence.
Notice below how you need to add a comma if you put the dependent clause first.
When the doctor calls my name while I am sitting in the waiting room, I get nervous.
A compound-complex sentence consists of TWO OR MORE independent clauses (shown in italics) and ONE ORE MORE dependent clauses (shown in bold). They can come in any order in the sentence.
I complimented Joe when he finished the job, and he seemed pleased.
Notice how neither of the ICs has a subordinating conjunction like ‘when’ that makes you need more information. However, the bold section is a dependent clause because the "when" makes you need more information.
After the family ate dinner, they went to play ping-pong, and they all had a really good time.
Here the Dependent Clause comes first, so you need a comma after it. There also has to be a comma before the "and" because what follows the "and" is a complete sentence.
© kmcelliott 2008