Difference Between Compound & Complex Sentences

While you are in school, you are supposed to prepare numerous essays and assignments throughout the semester. So, if you don’t know what is a compound-complex sentence, it may put you in a great disadvantage. Compound-complex sentences are not mandatory for academic writing, but knowing your way around such sentences can unlock the paths to advanced level of writing.

Compound and Complex Sentence

What is a compound-complex sentence?

Compound-complex sentence is one of the various forms of sentence constructions used in the English language. It is the longest and most involved form of sentence since it combines the elements of the compound and complex sentences.

Before you begin using compound-complex sentences, you need to develop an understanding of two types of clauses in a sentence.

A clause is a part of a sentence which includes at least one subject and one verb. The two types of clauses are:

  1. Independent clause:

An independent clause makes a complete sense on its own. This type of clauses usually stands by itself as a complete idea. Example: I love the sea.

  1. Dependent clause:

A dependent clause cannot act as a complete sentence by its own. It usually begins with a subordinating word, like because, if, when, whoever,because etc. Example: when the weather is sunny.

Because I was getting late for work, I could not attend my household chores.

Every grammatically correct sentence has at least one independent clause, which means every sentence requires at least one subject and one verb.

Understanding the clauses will help you in constructing compound-complex sentences. However, you will also need a proper idea of the compound and complex sentences since the compound-complex sentences are basically a combination of those two types of sentences.

Compound vs. Complex sentence

You cannot create a compound-complex sentence without the elements of these following types of sentences.

A compound sentence has two independent clauses. In other words, such a sentence contains two simple sentences. The independent clauses in the sentence are joined by a conjunction (and, nor, for, but, or, so, yet, etc.).


Compound Sentence Example

A complex sentence is an independent clause joined by one or more dependent clauses. A complex sentence always has a subordinator (because, since, as, after, when, although) or relative pronouns (who, that, which).


  1. We will have our dinner at a restaurant which serves seafood.
  2. She returned the television after she found that it was damaged
  3. Now that he has gone rich, people consider his idiocies.
Complex Sentence Example

As you can see, both forms of sentences are significantly different. Now, when you combine the elements of these two forms of sentences, you get a compound-complex sentence.

How to write a compound-complex sentence?

A compound-complex sentence usually has two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause. Since compound-complex sentences are generally longer than other forms of sentence, it becomes very important to use correct punctuation in compound-complex sentences.

Compound-complex sentence examples:

  1. Though Melanie prefers playing football, she had to enrol for the hockey team, and she enjoyed the game very much.
  2. James forgot his anniversary, so he sent his wife a necklace when he finally remembered.


 A compound sentence has minimum two clauses and each clause in compound sentence is always independent. It never includes a dependent clause.A compound sentence would carry atleast one coordinator and in minimum two subject verb combinations. A complex sentence has atleast two clauses,only one independent clause and minimum one dependent clause.It has atleast one adjective clause, one adverbial clause and one noun clause.It has atleast one subordinator.It has atleast two subject verb combinations. The rules of punctuations remains the same be it complex or compound sentences.

How to punctuate Complex and Compound Sentences?

Having trouble writing a compound-complex sentence? Here’s your solution

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