Complex Sentences

A complex sentence contains both an independent clause and at least one dependent clause.

Example: After she ate the spaghetti, she went for a walk.

The dependent clause can either precede or follow the independent clause. In the above example, it precedes it. In the next example, it follows it.

Example: She went for a walk after she ate the spaghetti.

Rule: When the dependent clause precedes the independent clause, the dependent clause needs to end with a comma; however, when the dependent clause follows the independent clause, the independent clause is not followed by a comma.

In addition, one dependent clause can precede the independent clause and another can follow it.

Example: After the batter struck out, he threw the bat into the stands because his strikeout cost his team the pennant.

Test your skill:
(The following questions are for the example immediately above.)

1. What’s the subject of the first dependent clause?
2. What’s the verb in the second dependent clause?
3. What is the subject and verb in the independent clause?

The answers will be in the next grammar post.

Subordinating Conjunctions

Another type of conjunction is a subordinating conjunction. Some examples are after, although, as, since, until, when, and while. When placed before an independent clause, this conjunction converts it into a dependent clause.

Example of an independent clause: Jose Reyes is one of the Mets best players.

By adding “although” to the above independent clause (Although Jose Reyes is one of the Mets best players), the clause no longer expresses a complete thought. It cannot stand alone as a sentence. Thus, it’s dependent upon additional wording to complete its meaning. The independent clause has become a dependent clause.

True or False? If you remove the subordinating conjunction from a dependent clause, you have converted the clause into an independent clause.

(The answer will be in the next grammar post.)