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Now that we’ve talked about the simple and the compound sentences we’re now ready to talk about the
So that’s what this section is about.
Let’s get started.
So first of all what is a complex sentence basically a complex sentence is when you have a dependent
clause plus an independent clause so you’ll recall from the previous video that an independent clause
is a complete idea.
On the other hand a dependent clause is an incomplete idea so when we have a dependent clause and an
independent clause put together we call that a complex sentence.
Now what do we use to connect the independent and the independent clause to each other we use what is
called a subordinating conjunction so we’ll talk about subordinating conjunctions very soon.
First let’s take a look at some examples of complex sentences so here’s our first sentence whereas Britain
invested over one million pounds in books.
France only invested one hundred thousand.
In this case the word whereas is the subordinating conjunction.
I want you to notice that France only invested one hundred thousand is an independent clause.
It’s a complete idea and it can stand by itself.
That means that if we were to just write this clause as its own sentence it would still make sense because
it’s a complete idea.
On the other hand if we were to say whereas Britain invested over one million pounds in books this is
not a complete idea because we’re using the word whereas to make a comparison so when we say the sentence
we have to compare it with something else.
Therefore we cannot just stop the sentence here.
We have to add some extra information to complete the sentence in this case.
We need to complete the comparison let’s look at another example Switzerland ranked the highest in 1999
although it was outranked by Britain the following year now in this case the word although is acting
as the subordinating conjunction and this subordinating conjunction is connecting the dependent clause
with the independent clause so here in the blue color we have the independent clause.
Switzerland ranked the highest in 1999.
You’ll notice that this is a complete idea.
If you were to stop the sentence here it would still make sense.
On the other hand the dependent clause is incomplete so here this dependent clause only makes sense
when we join it together with the independent clause.
Do you get it.
So an independent clause is called independent because it doesn’t need anything else.
It can stand alone by itself.
It’s complete however a dependent clause is incomplete.
It needs to depend on something else as a rule we place these subordinating conjunctions at the beginning
of the dependent clauses.
So you’ll notice that here we put the subordinating conjunction at the beginning of the dependent clause.
And we’ve done the same over here so it doesn’t matter if the dependent clause comes first or if the
dependent clause comes second.
The important thing here is that the subordinating conjunction has to be placed at the beginning of
the dependent clause and when we use these dependent clauses in a sentence we form what are called complex
Now let’s look at some examples of how we use subordinating conjunctions to form complex sentences will
start with a word although here’s our example although this proposal has some drawbacks its advantages
far outweigh the disadvantages.
Notice that this first half is the dependent class and this second half is the independent clause next.
We have to subordinating conjunction despite here’s our example.
Despite the new regulations many people still do not fully disclose their income to the government.
The first half is the dependent clause and the second half is the independent clause.
Next we have unless walking is better than driving unless one is in a hurry.
Here we have the independent clause before the dependent clause.
Here is the next example.
It is important to consider one’s financial situation before traveling abroad unless one is wealthy.
Notice that in this sentence we have an independent clause plus a dependent clause plus another dependent
clause so in this sentence we have one independent clause and two dependent clauses here’s our last
Certainly this could happen although the odds are remote.
Here we have the independent clause.
And here we have the dependent clause.
I want you to notice that in all of these examples we place the subordinating conjunctions at the beginning
of the dependent clauses.
Now you may have noticed that sometimes with the subordinating conjunction we use a comma and other
times we don’t.
So you may be wondering when exactly should we use a comma with a subordinating conjunction.
And when should we not so let’s talk about that.
There are a few basic rules.
The first of these rules is that if the dependent clause comes before the independent clause then you
should place the comma at the end of the dependent clause so in this case here we have the dependent
And here we have the independent clause the dependent clause comes before the independent clause so
in this case we have to place a comma at the end of the dependent clause.
The second rule is that if the dependent clause comes after the independent clause then the comma is
usually not used so here we have examples of this.
Here we don’t use a comma in both of these sentences.
Because here we have an independent clause that comes before the dependent clause so when we have a
situation like this in most cases we do not use a comma however I want you to notice that there are
exceptions to this rule as can be seen in this sentence over here.
The next rule is that if the subordinating conjunction is used to give extra information for example
if we’re just adding extra information as an afterthought then we must use a comma so in this example
we’ve used this dependent clause to simply add extra information.
OK this wasn’t really required.
We don’t have to add this information.
We could just put a full stop here and end this sentence right here.
However we chose to add extra information as an afterthought and therefore we have to use a comma.
Lastly I want you to note that the word although is an exception a comma is almost always used whenever
although appears in the middle of a sentence as you can see in the example over here.
Now let’s take a look at a list of subordinating conjunctions.
Here we have our list and I want you to note that this is not a complete list.
However these are some of the most common subordinating conjunctions that are used in the English language
words like though although as though since because despite our very common and you’re probably going
to use them in your child’s writing and speaking so you may be wondering now when exactly should I use
the complex sentences in my writing.
Well we usually use the complex sentences when we’re comparing and contrasting two different pieces
of data or information so let’s look at an example of that.
Let’s say that you see this bar graph on your eyelids writing task one and you’re trying to describe
the data from the year nineteen ninety five if you’re writing about the year nineteen ninety five you
could say something like in general it is evident that in nineteen ninety five local fixed line calls
were the most prominent choice whereas mobiles for the least popular.
Do you see how we’ve used the subordinating conjunction whereas to compare two different pieces of information
we’re saying that on the one hand the local fixed line calls were very prominent meaning that they were
very popular on the other hand mobiles were the least popular.
So we have compared to contrasting pieces of information in a single sentence.
That’s the power of a complex sentence let’s look at another example Now let’s say that you get this
map question and you have to describe the differences that you see between the two maps in this case.
You could say something like although the island used to be vacant and undeveloped in the past it is
now fully developed and equipped with tourist facilities.
Do you see how we’re using the word although to compare two contrasting pieces of information we’re
saying that on the one hand the island used to be vacant and undeveloped in the past.
On the other hand now it is fully developed and equipped with tourist facilities so by using complex
sentences we have mentioned two contrasting pieces of information in a single sentence.
So these are the type of sentences that the isles examiners are looking for.
They want to see if you’re able to form such complex structures so make sure that you use some complex
sentences in your writing to show off your grammatical range so that’s all for this video.
I hope that you now have a clearer understanding of what our simple sentences compound sentences and
complex sentences and that you now understand how to use them in your writing.
I’ll see you in the next grammar section in which we’ll talk about correlative conjunctions.
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