Lesson Four

Complex Sentences

write by hand

A complex sentence is made from an independent clause and a dependent clause joined together.

Some examples:

After I came home, I made dinner.

(dependent clause: "After I came home")

(independent clause: I made dinner)

We visited the museum before it closed.

(dependent clause: before it closed.)

(independent clause: We visited the museum)


Complex sentences are often formed by putting these words at the beginning of the dependent clause: as, as if, before, after, because, though, even though, while, when, whenever, if, during, as soon as, as long as, since, until, unless, where, and wherever. These words are called subordinating conjunctions.



Here are some examples of complex sentences:

Because the bridge wasn’t properly maintained by the government, it fell down.

independent clause: it fell down

dependent clause: because the bridge wasn’t properly maintained by the government


Although he ate a really big dinner, now he wants to eat cake for dessert.
hungry man
Whenever they eat at this restaurant, they order a hamburger and fries.

couple in restaurant

He’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight if he keeps exercising.

man doing aerobics

Because the world is getting warmer, polar bears are in danger of becoming extinct.
polar bear

In the next lesson, we’ll learn about compound-complex sentences.

Next: Lesson Five

compound-complex sentences