The Compound-Complex Sentence

A compound-complex sentence is made up of a compound sentence and a complex sentence. I would say these guys are properly named, wouldn't you?
  • The compound part of the equation means that the sentence has two (or more) independent clauses.

  • The complex part of the equation means that the sentence has at least one subordinate clause.
If you need a refresher on compound sentences or complex sentences, click on the links and check them out.

Let's analyze an example sentence and see if it has what it takes!

I would have purchased the cheese that you like,

but it was too expensive.

I would have purchased the cheese = independent clause

that you like = dependent adjective clause modifying cheese

it was too expensive = independent clause

It works! This sentence has what it takes to be compound-complex. Let's look at some more examples.

Compound-Complex Sentence That
Includes A Dependent Adjective Clause

I would have purchased the cheese that you like,

but it was too expensive.

You're already a pro at this sentence because we checked it out at the top of the page, but I want to show you how to diagram it.

If you're new to sentence diagramming, the following picture is probably going to look overwhelming and scary. Try not to bite your fingernails as you look at it.

Sentence diagrams can help you understand sentence structure, and if you learn with either of my beginner step-by-step programs, you'll be a pro with this kind of diagram.

compound-complex sentence diagram
That you like is a dependent adjective clause modifying the the direct object of the independent clause (cheese).

Here's a similar sentence diagram that shows you the basic parts of that sentence.
compound-complex sentence diagram

Compound-Complex Sentence That
Includes A Dependent Noun Clause

Rachael Ray explained how cookies are made,

and we practiced her techniques at home.

Dependent noun clauses are kind of complicated. Because they function as nouns and can do any of the noun jobs, they are often an integral part of independent clauses.

That's the case with this example. The dependent noun clause is the direct object of the verb explained.

Rachael Ray explained (how cookies are made) = independent clause

how cookies are made = dependent noun clause

we practiced her techniques at home = independent clause
compound-complex sentence diagram
Here's a similar sentence diagram that shows you the basic parts of that sentence. 
compound-complex sentence diagram

Compound-Complex Sentence That
Includes A Dependent Adverb Clause

We had a party because we had lots of cookies,

and our guests ate the yummy treats.

We had a party = independent clause

because we had lots of cookies = dependent adverb clause modifying had

our guests ate the yummy treats = independent clause

compound-complex sentence diagram
Here's a similar sentence diagram that shows you the basic parts of that sentence.


compound-complex sentence diagram

If you want to teach or learn grammar the easy way, then follow a step-by-step program that clearly lays everything out for you and allows you to move at your own pace. The Get Smart program is presented in a logical sequence, so it's not an overwhelming mishmash of information. Before you know it, you'll be a grammar and sentence diagramming pro!

The whole program is online, so you have instant access to these lessons and videos. It's easy and fun. You can get it at www.English-Grammar-Revolution.com/daily-diagrams.html
Keep learning and have fun!

Elizabeth O'Brien is the creator of the Grammar Revolution step-by-step grammar and sentence diagramming programs. Her programs are guaranteed not only to teach you grammar, but also to give you more confidence in your communication skills.

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Understand the compound-complex sentence?
Learn about other sentence structures.


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