Compound-Complex Sentence: Definition & Examples

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Patricia Vineski
In this lesson, you'll learn what a compound-complex sentence is, and how to use compound-complex sentences to make your writing more interesting. Take a look at some examples, and then test your knowledge with a quiz.

What is a Compound-Complex Sentence?

We all start out using simple sentences to say things like: 'The dog ate my cookie' or 'Johnny's been in my room again.' As we grow older, we begin putting sentences together to say things like: 'Marcie is coming over later, and we're going to study' or 'After we study, Marcie and I are going to the mall.' Finally, we begin putting sentences together to say things like: 'Marcie is coming over later, and after we study, we're going to the mall' or 'While the dog ate my cookie, Johnny snuck into my room, and borrowed my soccer ball without asking.' We grow from using simple sentences to express simple ideas to using compound-complex sentences to express multiple and more complex ideas.

A compound-complex sentence combines a compound sentence and a complex sentence. The compound part means that it has two or more complete sentences. The complex part means that it has at least one incomplete sentence.

Examples of Compound-Complex Sentences

One of the easiest ways to understand compound-complex sentences is to first take a look at the compound sentence and the complex sentence separately.

  • A compound sentence contains two or more complete sentences joined by one or more of the following words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

For example, in the sentence: 'He left, and I never saw him again,' the two complete sentences 'He left' and 'I never saw him again' are joined by the word 'and,' making it a compound sentence.

  • A complex sentence contains a complete sentence joined by one or more incomplete sentences.

For example, in the sentence: 'Juan and Maria went to the movies after they finished studying,' the complete sentence 'Juan and Maria went to the movies' is joined by the incomplete sentence, 'after they finished studying,' making it a complex sentence.

  • A compound-complex sentence combines the compound and the complex sentence. It contains two or more complete sentences joined by one or more of the following words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so, and at least one incomplete sentence.

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