Complex Sentence Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What is a complex sentence and how do we go about writing one? This lesson plan explains important facts about complex sentences through an informative video lesson. An activity gives students a chance to demonstrate understanding.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define the term 'complex sentence'
  • list the characteristics of complex sentences
  • identify the elements of complex sentences
  • blend independent and dependent clauses to craft complex sentences


60 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


Explain the function of phrases and clauses in general and their function in specific sentences.


Choose among simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences to signal differing relationships among ideas.


Place phrases and clauses within a sentence, recognizing and correcting misplaced and dangling modifiers.


  • A worksheet created using the quiz from the associated video lesson.


  • Begin by asking students to compose a complex sentence on their own papers.
  • To add a collaborative element, have the students share their examples with partners, teams, or the whole group.
  • Play the video lesson What is a Complex Sentence? - Examples & Concept.
  • Pause at 1:13 and discuss:
    • Using what you've learned from the video lesson about complex sentences, revisit the sentence you wrote earlier. Does it qualify as a complex sentence? Why or why not?
  • Ask students to compose new complex sentences using what they've learned in the text lesson.
  • Have the students share their new sentences with you. Alternatively, allow them to share with partners, teams, or the whole group.
  • Play the video lesson again, pausing this time at 2:56.
    • Did your new sentence(s) include subordinating conjunctions?
    • What other types of sentences can you name?
  • Play the video lesson. Pause it at 5:05.
    • How did you do in naming the different types of sentences?
    • What are some potential problems in writing complex sentences?
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson.
  • Review key points from the video lesson and allow students time to ask questions.
  • Pass out the quiz worksheet and have students work independently to complete it.
  • Review each question and answer from the worksheet before continuing.

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