Compound and Complex

Compound Sentences

            In a Compound Sentence we see that there are two or more Co-ordinate clauses and more than one finite Verb as in, ‘The sun rises in the east and sets in the west’. If we say, ‘Rain was falling’, it is also a Simple Sentence, but if we join them together by the conjunction ‘and’ to form one sentence, ‘A cold wind was blowing and rain was falling’, it will become a Compound Sentence. If we pay attention to this Sentence, we come to know that each clause is a Principal clause as none of them depends on the other. We can say that a Sentence is like a family and different clauses in it are like different family members.
            These two clauses have been joined by a coordinative Conjunction. Sometimes, specially in poetry, sentences are connected not by any Co-ordinative Conjunction, but merely by co-ordination of sense or by unity of construction called ‘Collateral’.
            The way was long; the wind was cold;
            The minstrel was in firm and cold;
The harp, his sole remaining joy;
Was carried by an orphan boy.

Complex Sentences

A complex Sentence has a Principal Clause with one or more subordinate Clauses. It is a sentence which has one or more main clauses which depend Subordinate Clauses. For example, in the sentence, ‘She eats less so that she may become thin’, there are two Finite Verbs ‘eats’ and “may become”.
So it is not simple sentence because it has two clauses ‘She eats less’ and ‘so that she may become thin’. The first clause that is, ‘She eats less’ makes a complete sense as an independent clause. It is called Principal, Independent or main clause of the sentence because it has its own independent meanings. The other clause ‘so that she may become thin’, can’t give independent meanings of its own. It, in fact, depends upon or is sub-ordinate to the first clause. Thus it is called “Dependent” or “Subordinate” clause. In this way when we say that the sentence, ‘She eats less so that she may become thin’, is a Complex Sentence.


·         Only one question is not enough to show whether he is intelligent or not.
·         The student is so weak in English that he can’t even pass.
·         We walked very fast, so that we could catch the train.