Grammar 15


Compound-Complex Sentences

We have finished learning four of the five basic sentence patterns.

Pattern Definition Example


only 1 clause

I ate a burger.


2 or more independent clauses; the subject of each clause is explicitly stated.

I ate a burger, and my friend watched TV.



2 clauses, but only the subject of the first clause is explicitly stated; the subject of the second clause is implied. (The reader understands that the subject of the second clause is the same as the subject of the first clause).

Jim ate a burger and watched TV.


at least one independent clause (on the top level) and one subordinate clause (on the bottom level).

While Jim ate a burger, Betsy watched TV.


Next we turn our attention to the last sentence pattern—the compound-complex sentence.

A compound-complex sentences is exactly what it sounds like: a combination of a compound sentence and a complex sentence.

In other words:

You can picture them like this:


he rented the latest spy thriller,

and he enjoyed it very much.

Although Mitchel prefers romantic films,




The team captain jumped for joy,

and the fans cheered,




because we won the state championship.


Sarah cried


but now she is better.


when her cat got sick,



The man was mean


his attitude was horrible.


because he was lonely;




The baby needed new shoes,

so I worked hard,




until I could finally afford some.


Kate doesn't like cartoons


so she doesn't watch them.


because they are loud,



Of course, not every sentence with three or more clauses is a compound-complex sentence. Compound sentences can also have multiple clauses:

The dog barked,

and the cat ran away,

and I sat down,

and I cried.





Greece is wonderful;

the beaches are clean,

and the food is delicious.





Instructions for the Quiz

Determine the type of sentence.