English/Complex Sentences

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General: Introduction - Grammar
Parts of speech: Nouns - Verbs - Adjectives - Adverbs - Pronouns - Conjunctions - Prepositions - Interjections
Parts of the sentence: Subjects - Predicates
Word functions: Subjects - Predicates - Direct Objects - Indirect Objects - Objects of the Preposition
Types of sentences: Simple Sentences - Complex Sentences
Types of Phrases: Adjective - Adverb - Noun
Types of Clauses: Adjective - Adverb - Noun
Other English topics: Gerunds - Idiomatic Phrases - Spelling - Vocabulary - Punctuation - Syntax - Appositives - Phonics - Pronunciation

Complex sentences are sentences that usually contain multiple subjects and predicates connected by a subordinator such as after, although, as, as if, because, before, if, since, though, unless, when, where, whether, whereas, while and others. These sentences have an independent clause and a dependent clause. This is the first type of complex sentence containing an adverbial clause, a clause modifying the verb/action.

1. ''When'' he tripped on the ice, he dropped all his books and lost his homework.

2. The teacher lectured him ''before'' she knew the reason why it was missing.

3. The student explained the accident ''because'' he was worried about his grade.

4. ''After'' he had explained the incident, the teacher had mercy.

Commas are used when the sentence starts with the dependent clause (e.g. sentence 1 and 4). No commas are necessary when the dependent clauses comes in the middle or end of the sentence (e.g. sentence 2 and 3).

There is another type of complex sentence in which the noun is being modified by an adjectival clause or relative clause. These complex sentences still contain multiple subjects and predicates which start with a subordinator such as which, that, who or whom just to name a few.

A. The dog, ''which'' my brother petted on the way to school, bit him.

B. The desk ''that'' Peter sat on and fell is broken.

C. The box, ''which'' Samuel dragged into his backyard, turned out to be full of toys.

D. The town ''in which'' I live suffered from severe forest fires.

The comma rule is more subjective for relative clauses. If the information in the clause is necessary for the information in the sentence, then the clause is set off by commas. If the clause is not necessary for the sentence, then the clause is surrounded by commas.

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