Complex Sentence Worksheet

Writing complex sentences
Writing Complex Sentences. Ezra Bailey/Getty Images

Complex Sentences - What are They?

Complex sentences are made up of two clauses - an independent clause and and a dependent clause.

Independent clauses are similar to simple sentences. They can stand alone and function as a sentence:

We didn't pass the test. 
Angela won the competition.

Dependent clauses, however, need to be used together with an independent clause. Here are some dependent clauses with independent clauses.

Notice how they seem incomplete:

Although he is ready.
When it is done. 

Independent clauses are combined with dependent clauses to make sense. 

We'll go to the bank because we need some money. 
As soon as we land, I'll give you a call. 

Notice that dependent clauses can come first. In this case we use a comma. 

Before she comes, we'll eat some lunch.
Because he's late for work, he took a taxi. 

Writing Complex Sentences Using Subordinating Conjunctions

Complex sentences are written by using subordinating conjunctions to connect the two clauses.

Showing Opposition or Unexpected Results

Use these three subordinating conjunctions to show that there is a pro and contra or contrasts statements.

although / even though / though

Although I felt he was wrong, I decided to trust him.
Sharon started looking for a new job even though she was currently employed.
Though I couldn't understand a word, we had a great time!

Showing Cause and Effect

To give reasons use these conjunctions that keep the same meaning.

because / since / as

Since you need some help, I'll come over this afternoon.
Henry felt he needed to take some time off because he had been working so hard.
The parents paid for extra lessons as the children were very gifted.

Expressing Time

There are a number of subordinating conjunctions that express time. Note that the simple tense (present simple or past simple) is generally used in dependent clauses beginning with time subordinators. 

when / as soon as / before / after / by

By the time you get this letter, I will have left for New York.
I used to play a lot of tennis when I was a teenager.
We had a wonderful dinner after she had arrived.

Expressing Conditions

Use these subordinators to express that something depends on a condition.

if / unless / in the case that

If I were you, I would take my time with that project.
They won't come next week unless you ask them to do so.
In the case that he isn't available, we'll look for another consultant.

Complex Sentence Worksheets

Provide a fitting subordinator to fill the gaps in these sentences. 

  1. I'm going to the bank _______ I need some money.
  2. I made lunch _________ I got home.
  3. ________ it's raining, she's going for a walk in the park. 
  4. ________ she finishes her homework soon, she will fail the class.
  5. He decided to trust Tim ______ he was an honest man.
  6. _______ we went to school, she decided to investigate the situation.
  7. Jennifer decided to leave Tom _______ he was too worried about his job.
  1. Dennis bought a new jacket __________ he had received one as a gift last week.
  2. Brandley claims that there will be trouble _____ he doesn't complete the job.
  3. Janice will have finished the report ____ the time you receive the letter.

Answers

  1. because / since / as
  2. after / when / as soon as 
  3. although / even though / though
  4. unless
  5. because / since / as
  6. before / when 
  7. because / since / as
  8. although / even though / though
  9. if / in the case that
  10. by 

Use subordinating conjunctions (though, if, when, because, etc.) to connect the sentences into one complex sentence.

  1. Henry needs to learn English. I will teach him.
  2. It was raining outside. We went for a walk.
  3. Jenny needs to ask me. I will buy it for her.
  4. Yvonne played golf extremely well. She was very young.
  5. Franklin wants to get a new job. He is preparing for job interviews.
  1. I'm writing a letter, and I'm leaving. You will find it tomorrow.
  2. Marvin thinks he will buy the house. He just wants to know what his wife thinks.
  3. Cindy and David had breakfast. They left for work.
  4. I really enjoyed the concert. The music was too loud.
  5. Alexander has been working sixty hours a week. There is an important presentation next week.
  6. I usually work out at the gym early in the morning. I leave for work at eight a.m.
  7. The car was extremely expensive. Bob didn't have much money. He bought the car.
  8. Dean sometimes goes to the cinema. He enjoys going with his friend Doug. Doug visits once a month.
  9. I prefer to watch TV by streaming over the internet. It allows me to watch what I want when I want.
  10. Sometimes it happens that we have a lot of rain. I put the chairs on the patio in the garage when we have rain.

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.

  1. As Henry needs to learn English, I will teach him.
  2. We went for a walk even though it was raining.
  3. If Jenny asks me, I will buy it for her.
  4. Yvonne played golf extremely well when she was young.
  5. Because Franklin wants to get a new job, he is preparing for job interviews.
  6. I'm writing you this letter which you will find after I leave. 
  7. Unless his wife doesn't like the house, Marvin will buy it.
  8. After Cindy and David had eaten breakfast, they left for work.
  9. I really enjoyed the concert although the music was too loud.
  10. As Alexander has an important presentation next week, he has been working sixty hours a week.
  11. I usually work out at the gym before I leave for work at eight.
  12. Though Bob didn't have much money, he bought the extremely expensive car.
  13. If Doug visits, they go to the cinema.
  14. Since it allows me to watch what I want when I want, I prefer to watch TV by streaming over the internet.
  15. If it rains a lot, I put the chairs on the patio in the garage.