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Difference Between Complex and Compound Sentences

Do you not know the key difference between complex and compound sentences? If this is your key concern, you have come to the right place. 

Although complex and compound sentences can be simplified using a credible sentence rephraser, which is a legitimate solution. 

Not only does the rephrasing tool help you write easy-to-read sentences, but it does so with more clarity and without changing the original meaning of the sentence. 

But still, it is very important to understand the difference between complex and compound sentences.

In this ultimate guide, you will learn how complex sentences and distinct from compound sentences with examples.

Let’s dive right in!

Complex sentences 

Sentences that come with one independent clause and at least one dependent clause are called complex sentences. 

• Independent clause

The clause that can stand alone as a complete sentence is called an independent clause. 


  • Waiting to have my vehicle’s oil changed is quite boring.

  • This professor always comes to class late.

  • It is always wise to complete challenging tasks first. 

  • We cannot wait to see this movie. 

• Dependent clause

The clause that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence is called a dependent clause. It is also called a subordinate clause. 


  • When I arrive. 

  • Because I cannot wait for him.

  • If you can work on this Sunday. 

  • Whenever the president comes to visit. 

These sentences come in handy when you need to provide readers with more information so that you explain your point clearly.

Fortunately, complex sentences are easy to spot. This is because they contain subordinating conjunctions, such as:

  • Because

  • Even if

  • Before

  • Since

  • Though

  • Even though

  • As long as

  • Unless 

  • While 

How to write complex sentences

Making a complex sentence is not a complicated task. It is easier than you think.

If you know the effective use of subordinate conjunction, you only need to place the commas in complex sentences quite carefully

  • If an independent clause comes first in the sentence, you should not use a comma in it. 

Let’s take an example:

Where were the soldiers when terrorists attacked this country?

  • On the contrary, if the dependent clause comes first, you should place the comma before the independent clause. 

For example:

When terrorists attacked this country, where were the soldiers?

Examples of complex sentences 

In order to understand the complex sentence with more clarity, read the below-mentioned examples:

1. I like to eat pizza before I play the match. 

In this sentence, “I like to eat pizza” is an independent clause as it would make complete sense on its own.

On the other hand, “Before I play the match” is a dependent clause, as it does not make a complete sentence on its own. 

2. Although he is a wealthy man, he is still unhappy.

3. Whenever the prices rise, I buy a few products. 

Once you get the idea of using the dependent clause and subordinate conjunctions, writing complex sentences does not seem to be a difficult task.

Compound sentences

The sentence that connects two independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction is called a compound sentence. 

These sentences let you combine two related sentences into a unified sentence. You can identify compound sentences very easily because of the coordinating conjunction, such as for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.

In order to connect two clauses, you need to use a semicolon. In this case, you do not need to use any conjunction. 


Let’s take a look at the below-mentioned simple sentences.

1. I have a pet.

2. His name is Tummy. 

These two sentences contain independent clauses. 

To combine these two sentences, you can place a semi-colon between them. 

I have a pet; his name is Tummy. 

3. Alicia made the brownie; Joe decorated them.

4. He loves Anna; he gives him gifts.

5. Our vehicle broke down, so we took a cap.

Complex vs. compound sentences 

It is easy to get complex sentences confused with compound sentences.  This is because both of these sentence types use two or more clauses. 

However, the primary difference lies in the type of clause they use. In complex sentences, you combine independent clauses with dependent clauses. 

Take an example.

Because I am writing an article now, we will talk later. In this sentence, “Because I am writing an article now” is a dependent clause, also known as a subordinate clause. 

Here the word “Because” connects the subordinate clause to the independent clause. 

On the other hand, you need to use two or more independent clauses in compound sentences. I am writing an article now; we will talk later. 

Wrapping Up

There you have it: “Difference between complex and compound sentences.” We are sure that you can now easily identify these two sentence types. 

However, combining different clauses sometimes get complicated, even for experienced writers.

It takes regular practice. If you have any questions about this article, you can ask in the comment section.