Complex Sentences

Using complex sentences is a mark of fluency.  We use them to improve the flow of speech/writing and to fit related information together into a single sentence.

 
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level: INTERMEDIATE-ADVANCED

 
 

Students should already be familiar with:

parts of speech // simple sentence structure // linking words

Check out our video guide for tips.

 

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What Are Clauses?

Before we get into relative clauses, condition clauses, and more, it's a good idea to explore exactly what a clause is.

Understanding clauses helps you avoid a lot of mistakes; it also allows you to create complex sentences.

 
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Printout

coordinating conjunctions diagrams

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Slideshow

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Insider Notes

e.g.: Run-ons are not necessarily long; they're just missing conjunctions

 
 

Relative Clauses

Relative clauses let you put additional information together in one sentence and can improve the flow of your speech or writing.

Here's an overview of how non-defining Relative Clauses are used, as well as 4 steps to creating them.

 
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Printout

steps to forming relative clauses

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Slideshow

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Insider Notes

e.g.: Use whose for possession.

 
 

Conditionals

These sentences combine possible condition clauses with result clauses; they express the cause and effect together (whether real or unreal).

 
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Printout

table of conditionals

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Slideshow

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Insider Notes

e.g.: use a comma only when the condition clause precedes the result

 
 

Technically, Indirect Speech involves complex sentences, so you should check out that series as well!

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Related Project

Writing Prompts:  A great way to improve writing is by crafting complex sentences throughout.

See all writing prompts.