Compound-Complex Sentences – Examples & Structure

Making good sentences is the key to improving one’s writing and speech. We learned to form sentences in our nursery classes, and ever since, we have not stopped once. Sentences are an integral part of grammar. Without sentences, there will be no meaning to our words.

In the first grade, we learned to make simple sentences. Those are formed simply by joining two or three words. However, as we keep learning, we realize that sentences are of many types and are more than just two to three words. They are more complicated and complex. And one such type is known as the compound-complex sentence.

These sentences are a mixture of two types of sentences. Here we have both independent and dependent clauses. It is more complicated than the individual types that form this sentence. So let us discuss this in detail.

What are compound-complex sentences?

Compound-complex sentences are a mixture of compound sentences and complex sentences, as the name suggests. This means compound-complex sentences are those sentences that contain at least two independent clauses and one dependent clause.

To be more precise, compound sentences are those that contain two independent clauses. And complex sentences are those that have at least one independent clause and one dependent clause. Again, independent clauses are those that can stand alone. These clauses can form a sentence on their own by expressing a complete thought. But dependent clauses are the opposite. They cannot stand alone and rely on the preceding or following clause.

So when these two types of sentences are joined and formed together, we get a compound-complex sentence. Here two independent clauses are joined with one dependent clause with the help of conjunctions and other elements of grammar like commas, semicolons, etc.

Let us understand with some examples;

  • Sia loves her nanny, and the nanny likes her too because they bond very well.
  • Ram asked me to buy chips because I went to the store, so I bought some.
  • I regularly cycle before going to school, but it was raining today.

Forming compound-complex sentences

So we learned the definition of compound-complex sentences. Now, it is important to know how to form one.

These types of sentences are formed with a minimum of two independent clauses and one dependent clause. However, one might wonder which clause comes first. There is no rule as to which should come first. Depending on the writing, either can come first or last.

For example,

I don’t like pizzas because they are so spicy, so I didn’t buy them.

Here, we can see that the bold phrases are independent clauses. They can stand alone and make sense. But “because they are so spicy” is a dependent clause and cannot stand alone. So, it is a proper compound-complex sentence where the independent clause is presented first.

Although she is poor, she carries her family, and she works double time.

Here, we can notice that again it is made up of two independent clauses and a dependent clause. So it is a compound-complex sentence. However, the dependent clause is stated first in this sentence. But still, there is no change. It is still a compound-complex sentence.

Thus, with the right punctuation and conjunction, either of the clauses can come first or last.

Conjunctions: When we talk about conjunctions, two independent clauses are joined by using “and, so, but, for,” etc. But when a dependent clause is put first, we usually make use of “while, although, because,” etc., in front of the phrase so that they are not mistaken to be an independent clause.

So, these are the points we need to remember to make correct and good compound-complex sentences.

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