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Complex Sentence Examples: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

Complex sentences aren't as complicated as they sound! In this lesson, we will learn about the clauses that make up complex sentences, why complex sentences might be used, and how to write them.

What Is a Complex Sentence?

A complex sentence is a sentence that is made up of one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.

  • Independent clauses have a subject and a simple predicate and can stand alone as a sentence. For example, Mice love cheese. This is an independent clause, a complete thought which can stand alone and function as a complete sentence.
  • Dependent clauses, on the other hand, can be made up of a subject and a predicate but do not express a complete thought. For example, Due to the recent cheese incident, mice will no longer be kept as pets. In this sentence, 'due to the recent cheese incident' is a dependent clause. It is not a complete thought and it cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. When you're trying to find a dependent clause in a sentence, look for words that let you know more information about a situation such as: because, due to, when, if, while, although or that. Dependent clauses can begin with other words, but those are some of the more common used.

Let's return to the previous example.

  • Due to the recent cheese incident, mice will no longer be kept as pets.

We know that the first part of the sentence is a dependent clause. The independent clause in the sentence is 'mice will no longer be kept as pets.' Because both a dependent clause and an independent clause are used together in the example, this would be considered a complex sentence.

What's the Situation?

Writing a variety of sentences always makes your writing better, but complex sentences have a unique purpose. Complex sentences are written to describe a situation. The dependent clauses within them give information on where, when or why something happened. The dependent clauses can also give extra information to the reader that wouldn't normally fit in a simple sentence with one independent clause.

Let's take a look at more examples of complex sentences.

  • Since horses like sweet flavors, a nice treat to give them is apples.

This is a 'why' complex sentence. It tells you why apples are a nice treat for horses.

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