Compound-complex Sentences

A compound-complex sentence is comprised of at least two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses. Let's get to know it in detail!

"Compound-complex" Sentences in the English Grammar

What Are Compound-complex Sentences?

A compound-complex sentence is a combination of a compound and complex sentence. It has two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause. In other words, when more than two sentences are joined together by a conjunction, the resulting structure is called a compound-complex sentence.

Independent and Dependent Clauses

  • An independent clause is a clause that stands alone by itself as a simple sentence with complete meaning.
  • A dependent clause cannot stand alone by itself as a sentence with complete meaning because it begins with a subordinating word, such as when, because,if, whoever, etc.

My favorite food is lasagna.

Independent clause

When he was in New York

Dependent clause


All standard sentences must have at least one independent clause, in other words, they must have at least one subject and one verb.

Compound and Complex Sentences

  • A compound sentence is comprised of two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so) and a comma or by a semicolon alone.
  • A complex sentence contains a dependent clause and an independent clause. When the dependent clause is placed before the independent clause, the two clauses must be divided by a comma; otherwise, no punctuation is necessary.

I have a pet rabbit, and his name is Fluffy. (A compound sentence)

When I grow up, I'm going to be a superstar! (A complex sentence)

Compound-complex Sentences

a compound-complex sentence

A compound-complex sentence is comprised of at least two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.

Dependent clause + Independent clause + Independent clause
Although Sam prefers to watch animated movies, he rented the latest horror movie, and he loved it very much.
Independent clause + Independent clause + Dependent clause
Laura forgot her friend's birthday, so she sent her a card when she finally remembered.
Dependent clause + Independent clause + Independent clause + Independent clause
When I was a little boy, I wanted to become a superstar, so I started practicing my guitar; however, I couldn't make it.


Compound-complex sentences are usually longer than simple sentences, which is why it is very important to punctuate them correctly to avoid ambiguity.

A dependent clause can come at the beginning, middle, or end of a compound-complex sentence.
Regardless of the placement of clauses within a sentence, a comma must be used before the coordinating conjunction that introduces the independent clause. Also, if the dependent clause appears at the beginning of the sentence, a comma must be used after it.


Compound-complex sentences usually combine two different types of sentences into one long sentence. That is why this type of sentence enables writers to create diverse sentences and make their writing more complex.


Conjunctions are words that link a clause to the other parts of the sentence. They join the independent and dependent clauses together.

  • Coordinating conjunctions: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So
  • Subordinating conjunctions: as, when, while, because, since, after, before, although, though, if, whether, unless, until, etc.
  • Conjunctive adverbs: anyway, meanwhile, also, however, next, consequently, finally, nevertheless, etc.

When I was sleeping, my son had a nightmare, so he woke me up, and I calmed him down.

John, who loves pasta, rarely eats lasagna; however, he loves Ribollita.


Since you are familiar with compound and complex sentences, It might be easy for you to guess the structure and function of compound-complex sentences. A compound-complex sentence is made up of two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.

Look at the following examples for more clarification:

Since cooking is the hardest thing ever, I prefer to order foods from restaurants, and Graham agrees with me on this.

When she was in Los Angeles, she used to work hard and even she slept less.


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