What Is a Complex-Compound Sentence?

G. Wiesen

In many ways, a complex-compound sentence is just as complicated as its name seems to suggest. Complex sentences are those that contain an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. A compound sentence is one that has two or more independent clauses, which are typically joined together by a conjunction such as "and." As the name indicates, a complex-compound sentence combines both of these elements to create a single sentence with two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.

An example of a complex-compound sentence is: "The cat jumped on the table and she began to purr gently, before she walked in a circle and lay down."
An example of a complex-compound sentence is: "The cat jumped on the table and she began to purr gently, before she walked in a circle and lay down."

To fully understand the structure of a complex-compound sentence, it is typically easiest to consider more basic forms first. A simple sentence consists of a single independent clause, which has a subject and a predicate, often including a verb and one or more objects. For example, "The cat jumped on the table," is a simple sentence."The cat" is the subject, while the predicate consists of the verb "jumped" and the prepositional phrase "on the table."

"The woman ran over to her husband and she began to smile gently, before she grabbed her shopping bags and returned home," is an example of a complex-compound sentence.
"The woman ran over to her husband and she began to smile gently, before she grabbed her shopping bags and returned home," is an example of a complex-compound sentence.

A complex sentence has an independent clause, which can act as a simple sentence on its own, and a dependent clause. If this dependent section was placed on its own, it would be a fragment sentence and is not grammatically able to stand alone. An example of this is the sentence "The cat jumped on the table, before she walked in a circle and lay down." In this sentence, the independent clause remains the same as before, but a dependent clause has been added which consists of "before she walked in a circle and lay down."

The other element of a complex-compound sentence that is essential is the "compound" aspect. A compound sentence consists of two or more independent clauses that are combined together. The sentence "The cat jumped onto the table and she began to purr gently," is a compound sentence. Both "the cat jumped onto the table" and "she began to purr gently" are independent clauses and can be used as simple sentences. The word "and" is simply a conjunction that joins the two clauses together, while "before" in the complex sentence above was part of the independent clause.

A complex-compound sentence can then be formed by joining these two elements together, allowing for two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause to form a single sentence. This can be created from the previous examples to make, "The cat jumped on the table and she began to purr gently, before she walked in a circle and lay down." The complex-compound sentence here contains one independent clause, "The cat jumped on the table," a second one, "she began to purr gently," and a dependent clause, "before she walked in a circle and lay down."

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