Speech-language pathologists and other educators know how important it is to teach complex and compound sentences. Research has indicated how important comprehension of complex sentences is for reading comprehension. In addition to enhancing comprehension, knowing how to use compound and complex sentence structures can increase overall expressive language abilities, as well as written expression. This blog post includes complex and compound sentence examples. In addition, it explains the types of clauses, provides definitions for dependent and independent clauses, and recommends activities and goals for grammar and sentence structure.
The Types of Clauses
Before diving into the different structures, it can be useful to define the two main types of clauses.
Clauses are groups of words. They contain both a subject and a verb.
Main clauses are also known as independent clauses.
Subordinate clauses are also known as dependent clauses.
Reference: (N.d.). Retrieved from https://www.twinkl.com/teaching-wiki/subordinate-clause
What Is a Dependent Clause?
A dependent clause is a group of words that contain a subject and a verb. However, a dependent clause is not a complete thought and these groups of words cannot stand alone.
Dependent clauses typically start with a subordinating conjunction. A dependent clause is also known as a subordinate clause.
Dependent clauses are linked to the independent clause using either a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun (which, that, who, whom).
Here are a few examples of dependent clauses:
- Because she is talking
- Although he was hungry
- When the dog barks
Because a dependent clause can’t stand alone, it will need to be combined with an independent clause to create a complex sentence.
Dependent clauses are considered sentence fragments because they cannot stand alone. Other sentence fragments are missing a either subject or a verb.
What is a Dependent Clause? Dependant Clause Examples and Definition – K12reader. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.k12reader.com/term/dependent-clause/
(N.d.). Retrieved from https://www.untdallas.edu/learning/writing/grammar/fragments-and-dependent-clauses.php
(N.d.). Retrieved from https://www.twinkl.com/teaching-wiki/subordinate-clause
What Is an Independent Clause?
An independent clause can stand alone as a complete sentence. It contains a complete thought.
An independent subject contains a subject and a predicate.
The following example illustrates an independent clause in a simple sentence structure that stands alone as a complete thought:
The dog barked.
(N.d.). Retrieved from https://www.twinkl.com/teaching-wiki/independent-clause
The 4 Main Different Types of Sentences
There are 4 main different types of sentences:
- Simple Sentences
- Compound Sentences
- Complex Sentences
- Compound-Complex Sentences
Each type of sentence structure contains a dependent clause or an independent clause.
Types of Sentences: Writing & Speaking Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/writing-speaking-resources/sentence-types
What Is a Simple Sentence?
A simple sentence contains a single independent clause. It can stand alone because it expresses a complete thought.
‘The cat purred’ is a simple sentence.
This sentence contains a subject, cat. To find the subject of the sentence, we ask, “What (verb)?” In other words, “What purred?”
In addition, this subject contains a verb. To find the verb we ask, “The (subject) did what?” The answer would be, “purred”.
The word ‘the’ is an article or modifying word, that tells us more information. Which cat? “The”
What Are Compound Sentences?
A compound sentence contains two or more independent clauses.
These independent clauses are joined by a coordinating conjunction.
Examples of compound sentences include:
The dog barked and the cat purred.
A dog barked but a cat purred.
What Are Complex Sentences?
Complex sentences contain one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.
Subordinating conjunctions connect independent and dependent clauses.
Examples of complex sentences include:
- After lunch, we went to recess.
- I won’t eat dessert until I’ve finished dinner.
- Although it was cold outside, she didn’t wear her coat.
What Are Compound-Complex Sentences?
Compound-complex sentences contain at least one dependent clause and two or more independent clauses.
Need some examples of compound-complex sentences?
- I went to school, and I brought my gym clothes with me because we had gym class.
- The fifth graders had a science test, but they didn’t get a chance to study because there was an assembly.
Nordquist, R. (2019). What Is a Compound-Complex Sentence? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/compound-complex-sentence-grammar-1689870
The Best Grammar and Sentence Structure Activities
Are you looking for the best grammar and sentence structure activities to use with your students?
Check out these effective grammar and sentence structure activities and programs.
Entire Year of Grammar and Sentence Structure
This program is IT in terms of making sure you cover all the bases!
Help students build a deeper, solid understanding of various sentence structures.
Each lesson builds on the next, so you won’t skip any foundational steps.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering. The secret sauce to this program? Sentence diagramming.
See what a difference this grammar and sentence structure program will make for your students.
Magnetic Wand and Chips Conjunctions Activities
Do your younger students love using a magnetic wand and chips?
The Coordinating Conjunctions Activity is perfect for individual or small group sessions.
Your student can target creating sentences about a picture using a targeted coordinating conjunction.
After saying a sentence, your student can pick up the chip using a magnetic wand.
This activity has a seasonal theme and can be used year-round.
This Cause and Effect Conjunctions activity is another fantastic resource and one of my personal favorites.
It also pairs with a magnetic wand and chips.
Your students will focus on answering “why questions” using a subordinating cause-and-effect conjunction.
Conjunctions Worksheets for Older Students
These Middle School Grammar Worksheets target creating sentences using conjunctions!
They’re perfectly suited for your upper elementary or middle school students.
Keep your students engaged while working on subordinating conjunctions and coordinating conjunctions.
Each page contains interactive elements such as spinners or dice rolling.
This blog post provides ideas for writing grammar goals for an IEP.
This blog post provided definitions for a simple sentence structure, a complex sentence, a compound sentence structure, and a compound-complex sentence structure. In addition, sentence examples were provided (i.e. compound-complex sentence examples).
Here are amazing grammar and sentence structure programs and activities to try with your students:
- Grammar and Sentence Structure Program 2nd-3rd Grade
- Entire Year of Grammar and Sentence Structure Program for 4th and 5th Grade
- The Bundle (Entire Year of Grammar and Sentence Structure 2nd-5th Grade)
- Chip Flips Coordinating Conjunctions
- Magnetic Wand and Chips Cause and Effect Conjunctions
- Middle School Grammar Worksheets: Creating Sentences Using Conjunctions