Complex Sentence – Definition, Structure and Examples

Various kinds of sentences exist in English and it is important that you are familiar with so that you can vary your sentence patterns when writing. This post, tagged Complex Sentence – Definition, Structure and Examples, examines the complex sentence and its structure with copious illustrations.                

Complex Sentence – Definition, Structure and Examples

Let us begin by looking at the definition of this type of sentence

What is a complex sentence?

By definition, we will define a complex sentence as a sentence that contains only one main clause or independent clause and, at least, one subordinate clause. The subordinate clause can be as many as possible but at least, one must be present alongside the main clause to make a complex sentence. A subordinating conjunction usually introduces the subordinate or dependent clause.

Complex Sentence Structure

Complex Sentences in English Grammar has its definite structure. In terms of complex sentence structure, its analysis will yield the main clause and at least, a subordinate clause. For instance, He went home after closing from work. There are two clauses here: ‘he went home’ and ‘after closing from work’. The first is an independent clause while the second is a dependent clause. Please note that the subordinate clause is usually introduced by a subordinator or a subordinate conjunction. (See Subordination and Coordination) for more explanations on this.

Complex Sentence Examples

I provided below as many illustrative examples of complex sentences as possible that I have drawn from live texts and the ones I generated. In addition, I did that in blocks of two, three, five, twenty, and twenty-five examples of complex sentences. This will indubitably help you to easily identify a complex sentence when you see one and, in addition, you will be able to generate complex sentences yourself.  So here we go:

2 Complex Sentences

For those who need just two examples, this is for you…

  1. My accusers saw me in the temple as I was completing a purification rite.
  2. Bought at the trade fair, the new car turned out to be very cheap.

3 Complex Sentences

If you need just three examples, this is for you…

  1. Studies have shown that beans provide the body with soluble fibre.
  2. As mentioned earlier, beans help to lower cholesterol.
  3. In the expression ‘goat meat,’ goat modifies meat even though both words are nouns.

5 Complex Sentences

Find below, five examples of complex sentence:

  1. Tough as the examination appeared, many were still able to pass it.
  2. If you do not drive him away, he will keep revealing your secrets.
  3. Looking down from the window of the tall building, the boy felt dizzy.
  4. The man believed the tyranny will soon be over when things begin to take shape.
  5. When productivity grew, workers reaped some of the harvests.

20 Examples of Complex Sentences

If you wish to have a list of 20 examples of complex sentences, here they are:

  1. If the constitution allows state police, so be it.
  2. With the advent of the World Wide Web, digital humanities has broadened its reach since it has remained in touch with the goals that have animated it from the outset.
  3. My parents deserve commendation for always being there for me from the beginning and for bringing me up to cherish the virtues of hard work and critical inquiry.
  4. If not for the sincere friendship and emotional support I got from many of my Nigerian compatriots in the United States, my experience here would have been a lot less exciting.
  5. If you are right that Nigerian grammarians frown upon “welcome address,” they are probably misled into thinking a noun can’t modify another noun.
  6. I find this sentiment to be widespread in Nigerian grammar circles though it is a misguided sentiment.
  7. Pastor Kumuyi’s own Christian life developed because he took the Bible so seriously.
  8. Fine desserts Ceylon Cinnamon is an absolute must because it is subtle, mild and slightly sweeter in taste.
  9. While teaching mathematics at his alma mater in 1962, after graduating from high school in 1961, Pastor Kumuyi was introduced to the Apostolic Faith Church.
  10. Some people prefer to use adjectives to modify nouns while others prefer attributive nouns to adjectives.

More Examples of 20 Complex Sentences

  1. The crushed leaves are spicy and hot in taste while peeling away the outer bark of the tree yields a very strong cinnamon smell.
  2. Pastor Kumuyi went back to teaching mathematics at Mayflower School, Ikenne, before going for a postgraduate course in education at the University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria.
  3. For people who take Cinnamon on a daily basis, Ceylon Cinnamon is the preferred choice.
  4. If you are taking Cinnamon for health reasons, then you must switch to Ceylon Cinnamon.
  5. Although the breadth of fields it covers is wide, computing has cut across disciplines to provide not only tools but methodological focal points.
  6. Ceylon Cinnamon is lighter in colour while other Cinnamon tends to be darker in colour.
  7. After teaching at his alma mater for a brief period, Pastor Kumuyi gained admission to study mathematics at Nigeria’s premier institution of higher education, the University of Ibadan, obtaining a first class degree in 1967.
  8. Cassia type Cinnamon is hard while Ceylon Cinnamon is the only soft and brittle Cinnamon with ultra-low Coumarin levels.
  9. After completing his postgraduate study programme, Pastor Kumuyi became a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Lagos in 1973.
  10. Most of Europe used Ceylon Cinnamon because this was the first spice European explorers brought back from their conquests of Ceylon.

Complex Sentences Exercises

I provide an excerpt below as complex sentence practice or complex sentence quiz. The best exercise is for you to pick up any live text and extract all the complex sentence present in them. Send them via the comment box and I will let you know if you got them right. Now, pick out the complex sentences in the excerpt below:


Although the use of genetic engineering to produce microorganisms for waste treatment has received much coverage in the popular press, this approach has been little used to date. Naturally occurring organisms often work better in large-scale treatment systems. Also, companies performing bioremediation have been restricted by rules on the release of genetically engineered microorganisms into the environment. Bioremediation is not always successful; thus, although it is often the most inexpensive method, it is only one of many techniques for dealing with hazardous wastes.

For example, waste mixtures may contain heavy metals, which kill the bacteria capable of metabolizing any organic pollutants in the waste. Bioavailability of the pollutant (the amount actually available to be broken down by microorganisms) may also be a problem: Some organic compounds, such as polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins, may adsorb onto some soils too tightly to be metabolized. Finally, some organic compounds are very poorly biodegraded. However, when it is effective, biological waste treatment is desirable because it is inexpensive, can be done at the site of pollution, and causes minimal physical disturbance to the surrounding area compared to other methods.

Writing Complex Sentences

There are complex sentence rules. Making complex sentences is not a difficult task. All you need do is generate a clause that is independent. Generate another clause and make it subordinate to the independent clause by introducing a subordinator before the dependent clause. You should note, however, that in writing complex sentences, the dependent clause can come before the independent clause or vice-versa.


You can see the following educative posts as they would enhance your knowledge:

Remember to share this post; it is just a click away!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *