Sunteți pe pagina 1din 5

COMPOUND and COMPLEX SENTENCES

As you become a more fluent writer, you will be able to express your ideas in a
more complicated, sophisticated way. Basic English syntax is subject-verb-object,
with prepositional phrases usually occurring at the beginning or the end.
Compound and complex sentences go beyond this basic English sentence pattern
and make your writing and your speech more interesting and more precise.
Compound Sentences
I emptied the dishwasher.
My sister set the table.
These are two separate ideas, two complete thoughts, two independent clauses,
two separate sentences.
When you write, you can always choose to make two separate sentences out of
two separate ideas. Use a period after each sentence.
You also have the option to combine the sentences into one, compound sentence
with a connecting word, also called a coordinating conjunction. Three common
coordination conjunctions are [and, so, but].
If you choose to use a connecting word, you must make sure the word makes
sense and supports your meaning.
Lets look at our example sentences. All three are grammatically correct, but the
connecting word you choose depends on your meaning.
1. I emptied the dishwasher and my sister set the table.
This means that two activities were taking place.

2. I emptied the dishwasher but my sister set the table.


This points out the contrast in the type of chore you and your sister did, or the
fact that you didnt do both chores.

3. I emptied the dishwasher so my sister could set the table.


This points out that you needed to empty the dishwasher in order for you sister to
be able to do her chore.

Green River Community College

ESOL Level 5

Compound & Complex

cd

There are other useful connecting words called conjunctive adverbs. Some
common examples of this kind of connecting word are [furthermore,
moreover, also, in addition, besides, in fact, therefore, consequently,
thus, as a result, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, on the other
hand, still, or, otherwise, for instance, of course, indeed].
You have a choice with punctuation when you use this kind of connecting
word. You can make two separate sentences and end each sentence with a
period. In this case, the connecting word would be the first word in the
second sentence, and you would use a comma after it.
Example: I was late. Therefore, I couldnt find a parking space.
You can also make a compound sentence with your two ideas and the
connecting word, and use a semicolon after the first idea and a comma
after the connecting word.
Example: I was late; therefore, I couldnt find a parking space.
The connecting words in each of these groups are similar, but they are not
interchangeable. The best way to learn how to use these words correctly is
to try and use them!
and
furthermore
moreover
in addition
also
besides
in fact

Green River Community College

so
therefore
consequently
as a result
thus

ESOL Level 5

but
however
nevertheless
on the contrary
on the other hand
still

Compound & Complex

cd

Practice with coordinating conjunctions and adverbs


Write several S-V-O sentences on the board.
Examples:
I plant sunflowers.
The children washed the dishes.
We watched a movie.
My sister called me.
The branch broke.
The telephone rang.
The dog buried the bone.
They will buy a car.
The sun shines.
They studied English.
She lost the key.
The cat clawed the sofa.
The bird built its nest.
I drew a picture.
We climbed the mountain.
She planted the seeds.
He will bake a cake.
They drive a car.
Give each table a card with either: and, but, so, furthermore, therefore,
however, moreover, consequently, nevertheless, etc.
You can also give each table three more cards: adjective, adverb,
prepositional phrase.
Assign a sentence to each table. Their task is to turn the simple sentence
into a compound sentence using their connecting word. They can also

Green River Community College

ESOL Level 5

Compound & Complex

cd

practice adding an adjective, and adverb, and a prepositional phrase to


their sentence.
Go over sentences. Focus on meaning. Repeat, using different
combinations of connecting words and sentences.

Complex Sentences
A complex sentence is made up of a complete sentence (independent clause) and
one or more partial sentences (dependent clauses).
We use connecting words called subordinating conjunctions to connect them.
Some common connecting words of this type are:
Time {after, as, as soon as, before, until, when, while, whenever}
Cause/Effect {because, since}
Condition {if, unless}
Purpose {so that}
Contrast {though, even though, although}

Punctuating complex sentences


If the connecting word comes in the middle of the sentence, you do not
need a comma.
If you begin your sentence with the connecting word, you need a comma
after the first clause.
Example: I came right over when I heard the news. [no comma]
When I heard the news, I came right over. [comma]

Green River Community College

ESOL Level 5

Compound & Complex

cd

We can also make complex sentences with connecting words called relative
pronouns.
which
that
who
These words can be used introduce relative clauses, which are a kind of
dependent clause. That is, they are not complete sentences.
The general rule about commas is that we use commas if the information is extra
and is not necessary to identify the noun or pronoun in the main part of the
sentence.
We use commas with which.
We do not use commas with that.
We sometimes use commas with who.
Example: Buena Vista, which is in Colorado, is a small town.
I got off at the light rail stop that is close to my house.
My friend Mary, who is no longer a teacher, lives there.
I dont often see my friend who lives there.

Green River Community College

ESOL Level 5

Compound & Complex

cd