Master the Compound-Complex Sentence in Your Writing
I have written so far about three different kinds of sentences based on structure: the simple sentence, the compound sentence, and the complex sentence.
Today is for the compound-complex sentence.
What is it?
You might well have guessed by now. A compound-complex sentence combines the compound sentence and the complex sentence kinds.
It has at least two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.
(Of course, it can include phrases just like all the other sentence kinds.)
These sentences tend to be longer simply because of the number of clauses they contain. But don’t depend on only the length of a sentence to tell you what it is. A simple sentence with lots of adjectives, adverbs, or phrases can be quite long.
Properly punctuated, the compound-complex structure gives you lots of flexibility. With these sentences, you can manipulate the clauses (& phrases) to create stronger beginnings or endings, to enhance the most important point, or to artistically accentuate a detail or description. The options are nearly endless.
Note of caution: This is not the “Best.” There is no “Best.”
All four kinds of sentences have equal intrinsic value. The point is to use a variety of them in your longer writing. The goal is knowing how to intermingle simple sentences with compound-complex sentences, introducing a few complex sentences with a couple powerful compound sentences so that they all complement each other.
Here are some examples of compound-complex sentences (independent clauses in green / dependent clauses in blue):
Whenever he hears the train whistle, Bob runs to see the train, and he often takes photographs as well.
Sharon, who is an expert knitter, makes sweaters for her grandchildren and she loves watching the children open the presents at Christmas time.
The building of the bridge was delayed after the workers went on strike, but the end result was still an amazing work of art.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with varying your sentences. Practise, practise, practise!
Reading your text aloud will often signal any changes you might need to make to help with the “rhythm” of your article. It is beneficial to have an article that reads smoothly. It helps the reader scan and comprehend your message. Also, it makes the writing process more enjoyable if you take a somewhat artistic approach while still following the technical rules. While there are lots of rules and conventions in the English language, there is also lots of room to maneuver and create.
When you are ready, don’t hesitate to contact a coach to help you along.
Here are my contact details. I would love to assist you in your journey.
For more tips, check out this week’s video: