There are three types of sentences in English: Simple, compound and complex sentences. This worksheet focuses on writing compound-complex sentences and is ideal for advanced level classes. Teachers can feel free to print out this page to use in class.
Understanding Compound-Complex Sentences
Compound-complex sentences are sentences that contain two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses. They are more complicated than compound sentences or complex sentences as they combine the two styles. Learning to write compound-complex sentences is an advanced level English learning task. Make sure you understand both compound and complex sentences before you begin to study the compound-complex sentences.
Compound sentences use coordinating conjunctions also known as FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) to connect two simple sentences. Remember to place a comma before the coordinating conjunction. Here are two compound sentences as examples to review.
I would like to read the book, but it's not available.
Janet is going to visit her grandparents, and she's going to a meeting.
Complex Sentences Adverb Clauses
Complex sentences combine one dependent and one independent clause through the use of subordinating conjunctions such as because, though, as, while, if, etc these are also known as dependent adverb clauses. Here are two complex sentences as examples to review. Notice how the two sentences are similar in meaning to the two compound sentences.
Though it's not available, I'd like to read the book.
Janet is going to a meeting after she has visited her grandparents.
Remember that the dependent clause can be placed at the beginning or the end of the sentence. When placing the dependent clause at the beginning of the sentence, use a comma.
Complex Sentences Using Relative Clauses
Complex sentences also use relative clauses using relative pronouns (who, which, that, etc.) as the independent clause to modify a noun or noun phrase. Relative clauses are also known as dependent adjective clauses.
I would like to read the book which was written by John Handy.
Jane is going to visit her grandparents who live in Boston.
Combining the Two
Most compound-complex sentences contain coordinating conjunction and an adverb or relative clause. Here are examples combining the previous sentences to write compound-complex sentences.
I would like to read the book which was written by John Handy, but it's not available.
Jane is going to a meeting after she has visited her grandparents who live in Boston.
Compound-Complex Sentence Worksheet
Combine the sentences to make one compound-complex sentence.
- Susan teaches the kids who live in the neighborhood. They meet in the evenings after she comes home from work.
- The doctor wants to prescribe physical therapy, and he asked me to see a specialist. He recommended Dr. Smith.
- Anthony told us about the assembly of the products. Unfortunately, he didn't tell us about where they were made.
- We managed to finish the exercise on time and passed the exam. However, it was very difficult.
- The man spoke little English. Mary understood him, but couldn't help.
- We didn't have much time, so we didn't read the final chapter. However, we still enjoyed the book.
- We will miss our father greatly. He taught us many lessons. Those lessons have helped us succeed in life.
- The eagles attract many tourists. They live in the local mountain range. Unfortunately, the politicians still refuse to protect them.
- We finished our work early, so we decided to go out for a drink. We went to Allan's Pub.
- The students who attended the university went on strike. They protested the tuition hikes.
- Sandy wanted to ask her uncle questions about his experiences. Her uncle fought in WW II.
- The boys refused to ask the teacher any questions. They failed the exam.
- I don't like the food. The staff prepares the food. I also do not like their unfriendly attitude.
- Sheila loves red. The Mustang is red, but she might wait a few months.
- He can join us if he asks the man who invited us to the party. He can also stay home.
There are other variations that are possible than those provided in the answers. Ask your teacher for other ways to connect these to write complex sentences.
- Susan teaches the kids who live in the neighborhood in the evenings after she comes home from work.
- The doctor wants to prescribe physical therapy, and he wants me to see Dr. Smith whom he recommended.
- Anthony instructed us on how the products are assembled, but he failed to tell us where they were made.
- Although the exercise was difficult, we managed to finish it on time, so we passed the exam.
- Mary understood the man who spoke little English, but she was unable to help him.
- Because we had limited time, we didn't read the final chapter, yet we still enjoyed the book.
- Our father taught us many lessons which helped us succeed in life, and we will miss him greatly.
- The eagles which live in the local mountain range attract many tourists, but the local politicians still refuse to protect them.
- As we had finished our work early, we decided to go out for a drink, so we went to Allan's Pub.
- The students who attended the university went on strike, for they protested the tuition hikes.
- Sandy never met her uncle who had fought in WW II, yet she wanted to ask him about his experiences.
- The boys refused to ask the teacher who had instructed them any questions, so they failed the exam.
- I don't enjoy the food which is prepared by the staff, nor do I appreciate their unfriendly attitude.
- As she loves red, Sheila wants to buy the Mustang, or she wants to wait for a few months.
- If he wants to join us, he needs to ask the man who invited us to the party, or he can stay home.