Complex Sentence: Explanation and Examples

In English, a complex sentence consists of a main part and one or more subordinate clauses. Types of subordinate clauses in English: Subject clause, Predicative clause, Object clause, Attributive clause, Adverbial clause.

Types of subordinate clauses

Subject clause

The subordinate subject clause performs the function of the subject. Joins the main subject with the conjunctions that, whether, and the words who, whom, whose, what, which, where, when, why, how.

  • All that she wants is the truth
  • Who comes first does not matter

Predicative clause

Subordinate predicate clauses perform the function of the nominal part of the predicate. They are joined using that, if/ whether, as if/as though, etc.

  • That is why we came here
  • That is what he wanted to ask about

Object clause

Object clause perform the function of an adjunct and are joined to the main one using the words that, whether, who, whom, whose, what, which, where, when, why, how, etc. and in a non-conjunctive way — the latter is characteristic of spoken speech:

  • Не knows.where the book is
  • They said they were there

Attributive clause

The function of Attributive clauses is to refer to the noun or pronoun of the main clause. Such sentences are joined using the words what, which, where, when, who, whose and in the adverbial way:

  • The girl who came into our classroom was very pretty
  • The school we go to is in our street

Adverbial clause

The Adverbial clause, which performs the function of the circumstances of the main sentence, has several types.

Adverbial clause of time

Adverbial clause of time joins with the conjunctions when, after, before, while, as, till/until, as soon as, as long as, since, etc.

  • Call me as soon as you come home
  • After we had written a composition, we went out of the classroom

Adverbial clause of cause

Adverbial clause of cause is joined using the conjunctions because, as/since, for, etc.

  • We went to cinema because we wanted to watch a new film
  • As we were ill, we stayed at home

Adverbial clause of place

Adverbial clause of place is joined to the main one using the conjunctions where, wherever

  • We went where the park was
  • Tim left the book on the table where you told him

Adverbial clause of result

Adverbial clause of result joins the main with the conjunction so (that)

  • Ann was so ill that she couldn’t go to school
  • We had decided to stay at home so we did all housework

Adverbial clause of purpose

Adverbial clause of purpose begin with the conjunctions so (that), in order that (to), lest

  • We went to school earlier lest we might be late for classes
  • Nick came to us in order that we might help him

Adverbial clause of comparison

Adverbial clause of comparison are combined with the main conjunctions as, as … as, than, as if, etc

  • Do as you like
  • The more we read the story, the more we liked it

Adverbial clause of concession

The last type of Adverbial clauseAdverbial clause of concession. Conjunctions used in the following sentences: though, however, whatever, etc.

  • He didn’t come though we had asked him
  • We stayed in the street although it was getting dark

Video – Simple Compound and Complex Sentences | English Grammar Lessons | Clauses in English Grammar

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