What are complex sentences?


In the English language, sentences can be defined as grammatical structures that form a unit with complete meaning. They are made up of clauses and include at least one verb.

The complex sentence is composed of a main clause and at least one dependent or subordinate clause; these clauses are characterized by being connected by means of a subordinating conjunction such as although; since, as; because. They are used to provide more information, explain or modify the central point of the sentence.


In Chapter 13, coordinated sentences are presented as TWO complete sentences (clauses) coordinated by a coordinating conjunction (or nexus), such as “and”, “but”, “or”.    The subject of each sentence may have the same reference or may change.

Unlike coordinated sentences, COMPLEX sentences are formed with a main (independent) sentence and another dependent sentence (or clause) headed by a subordinating conjunction, or a nexus such as QUE, CUANDO, PORQUE, etc.

The dependent (or subordinate) clause depends on the proposition expressed in the first sentence, and therefore if one tries to express the subordinate clause as its own statement, it results in an incomplete sentence, or a fragment:

The main sentence (S1 Predicate) is always expressed in the INDICATIVE, and the subordinate sentence (S2 Predicate) can be expressed in the INDICATIVE or the SUBJUNCTIVE (present or past). The mood and tense in the subordinate clause depends on the proposition in the first main sentence (the action OR characteristics of the complements) and the temporal context of the event:

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Complex and compound sentences

A compound or complex sentence is a sentence that has more than one verbal syntagm or, in other words, has more than one conjugated verb. It is a syntactic quality formed by two or more simple sentences that have been combined with each other by means of parataxis or hypotaxis (this may involve various nexuses or relationship elements, conjunctions, conjunctive locutions, adverbs, relative pronouns, etc.).

Coordination is the union of two or more sentences that have the same functional value and are syntactically independent or alone. Therefore, coordinated sentences do not depend on each other, but are joined together at the same syntactic level. Their meaning is integrated into the overall meaning of the whole compound sentence, although they could function separately as autonomous sentences. Example:

Juxtaposition is the union of several sentences with the same syntactic value and without nexuses between them. Thus juxtaposed sentences have a meaning relationship that is represented in writing by punctuation marks (comma, semicolon, colon), [Sentence 1] PUNCTUATION SIGN [Sentence 2], as in the following example:

Examples of complex sentences

When we speak of sentences we refer to a series of words that together constitute a meaning. However, lacking a verb conjugated in a personal form, this meaning will never be complete, but will need other phrases and sentences to be able to express a complete idea.Since the words phrase and sentence are often used as synonyms, we will explain below what a sentence is and we will explain the difference between phrase and sentence so that you can distinguish between them.

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There are two types of statements: sentences and phrases, also called non-sentence statements. The difference between the two is that while sentences have a complete and autonomous meaning, phrases do not.Many people believe that what really differentiates a phrase and a sentence is that in sentences there is a verb conjugated in the personal form. In phrases there may be verbs in gerund or participle forms, but never in personal forms. Although this is true and can be a good way to differentiate phrases and sentences, from a technical point of view it is not correct.Here are some examples of each so that you can understand more about the difference between phrase and sentence:Examples of sentencesAs we can see, all these phrases have a complete and autonomous sense, they consist of predicate and subject -even if elided- and the verb is in a personal form.Examples of phrases