Grammar Basics: The Complex Sentence

So far we discussed the simple sentence and the compound sentence. Today we will discus the complex sentence.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

What is a complex sentence?

Simply put, a complex sentence is the combination of a dependent clause and an independent clause. You know what an independent clause. A dependent clause is a clause that is dependent on another clause to make it a complete thought.

For example: Although I am busy, I will make the time to write 500 words today.

(The dependent clause is “Although I am busy.” The independent clause is “I will make time to write 500 words today.”)

>>If you take away the “although,” you will notice that “I am busy” is an independent clause. “I am busy” became a dependent clause when the “although” was added to the clause. The “although” is a subordinating conjunction.

Subordinating Conjunctions

When writing a complex sentence, you have to decide (consciously or unconsciously) which clause is more important. When that decision is made, you will add a subordinating conjunction to the lesser clause, rendering dependent on the independent clause. (Subordinate means something that is of a less importance or order.)

Let’s use the above example again but switch it around:

Although I will make the time to write 500 words today, I am busy. (The dependent clause is “although I will make the time to write 500 words today” and the independent clause is “I am busy.”)
This sentence sounds a little awkward, doesn’t it? Still, look at the first part of the sentence: “although I will make the time to write 500 words today.” It doesn’t stand on its own, does it? No, it doesn’t. That one little word – the subordinating conjunction – makes a world of a difference!

List of Subordinating Conjunctions

Here are some of the most common subordinating conjunctions that are used to create complex sentences:

after, although, as, because, before, even if, even though, if, in order that, once, rather than,  since, so that, though, unless, until, when, whenever, while

There are others. The most important thing to know about complex sentences is that they contain both a dependent and independent clause. Additionally, any group of words that isn’t a complete thought (whether it has a subordinating conjunction or not) is a dependent clause and must be connected to an independent clause in order to work.

Next Steps

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5 Online Resources to Improve Your Writing

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In today’s digital age, writing well is essential. It is particularly important if you want to make money selling information products or self-publishing a book. If you write poorly, you may not be taken seriously as an expert in your field. Also, bad writing can affect your review rating on Amazon.com (or other review websites) and ultimately affect your sales.

Therefore, I thought I would share some of my favorite writing websites. If you need a little writing help, or you want a quick resource for when you have a writing question, here are some great websites to keep handy:

1. Writing From Your Soul. Dawn is a fellow former AssistU colleague and is amazing! She  focuses on content creation and offers several writing programs and coaching services. A few years ago, I purchased Dawn’s “Writing from the Soul Intensive Toolkit” and I am convinced that using her system is one of the reasons I graduated from college this May “Summa Cum Laude” (high honors).

2. Grammar Girl. This site offers tons of writing advice and tips. (It also had tons of other kids of tips, too!)

3. The Elements of Style. This is the online version of the well-known grammar handbook. A must-have for any writer.

4. Writer’s Digest. Go here for general writing tips, forums and writing groups, competitions and information about getting published.

5. The Working Writer’s Coach. This resource is a great resource for freelance writers and those looking to be published. She also has writing tips and other resources you may find useful.

Coming Soon: I am in the process of finishing up a “sister” website to this one called http://www.grammarplace.com/. On this website you will find weekly videos offering practical, easy to implement, grammar tips.

What’s your favorite writing resource? Do take a moment to share it in the comments!

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P.S. You can download a free printable version of this list here. (Subscribers can access this download on their private page.)

*I am not an affiliate for any of these websites nor are there any affiliate links in this post.