Complex sentences

Wrapping up

See you next time!

Well done! There is so much to learn about complex sentences, and we have covered a lot in this lesson.

To summarise:

Complex sentences can help make our writing more efficient, more interesting, or even create meaning that can’t be created in other ways.

The key to complex sentences is layering or embedding events inside each other. In grammatical terms, a supporting clause plays a role (e.g. subject, complement, modifier, or even other roles) inside a main clause.

Different types of supporting clauses have different structures and play different kinds of roles.

  • ‘-ing’ and ‘-ed’ clauses to add more detail about events. 
  • Infinitive ‘to’ clauses to give reasons and conditions. 
  • ‘Question word’ clauses to define entities.
  • And so on.

We can use connectors to combine complex sentences just as we would use them to combine simple sentences. We call these ‘compound-complex sentences’ but they aren’t really all that special.

As you read and write more, you will very likely come across complex sentences that create different meanings than the ones we covered in this lesson! Complex sentences are hugely varied and flexible, but we’ve tried to cover all the major types here.

The important thing is not to panic—supporting clauses look complicated, but at their core they’re just more pieces you can use to take your writing from this:

Rough thumbnail sketch

...to this:

Fully resolved painting

(By Teo Skaffa)

When you’re reading
Where did the checkpoint inspiration image come from?
Where did the snippets come from?

See you next time! 👋  

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