A complex sentence contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause. An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence and makes a complete thought and a dependent clause cannot stand alone, even though it has a subject and a verb.
Complex Sentences from Everyday Life
The independent clause in each of the following sentences is underlined:
- Because my coffee was too cold, I heated it in the microwave.
- Though he was very rich, he was still very unhappy.
- She returned the computer after she noticed it was damaged.
- When the cost goes up, customers buy less clothing.
- As she was bright and ambitious, she became manager in no time.
- Wherever you go, you can always find beauty.
- The movie, though very long, was still very enjoyable.
- Evergreen trees are a symbol of fertility because they do not die in the winter.
- The actor was happy he got a part in a movie, although the part was a small one.
- The museum was very interesting, as I expected.
- Because he is rich, people make allowance for his idiosyncrasies.
- The professional, who had been thoroughly trained, was at a loss to explain.
- When she was younger, she believed in fairy tales.
- After the tornado hit the town, there was little left standing.
- I have to save this coupon because I don’t have time to shop right now.
- Let’s go back to the restaurant where we had our first date.
- Although my cousin invited me, I chose not to go to the reunion.
- As genes change over time, evolution progresses.
- I really didn’t like the play although the acting was very good.
- Everyone laughed when he got a cream pie smashed in his face.
- After twenty years, he still had feelings for her.
- Some people tell me that money can’t buy happiness.
Complex Sentences from Literature
- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. - Walden, Henry David Thoreau
- The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman stood up in a corner and kept quiet all night, although of course they could not sleep. - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum
- Because he was so small, Stuart was often hard to find around the house. - Stuart Little, E.B. White
- The path to my fixed purpose is laid on iron rails, on which my soul is grooved to run. - Moby Dick, Herman Melville
To learn the difference between a complex sentence and a compound sentence, read this informative article on Compound Sentences.