© 2017 Steve Campsall
the complex sentence (2)
The cat sat on the mat because the dog had left the room.
Complex sentences are more sophisticated and so are a sign of a somewhat more experienced, or more formal, writer or speaker. Complex sentences are also important because they can add variety to the style of a text and can include a good deal of extra information and detail.
Owing to their extra length, complex sentences can make a text less easy to follow and, because of this, fewer complex sentences are used in speech (but they are a significant feature of many written, and especially formal, texts).
In written texts an excess of complex sentences can create an overly difficult style that becomes ponderous to read and can lack sparkle and energy. However, because complex sentences allow ideas to be explored more fully and fluently, they are indispensable to many kinds of writing.
Here is an example of a text that relies on a variety of sentence types:
It was a surprisingly dark night even though the moon was full. All around us Nature herself seemed still and silent as though something truly terrible was about to happen. As our vision cleared, we soon realised that something terrible was indeed about to happen and it was now far too late to stop it...
Make sure you can recognise each different type of grammatical sentence structure in the above extract.
Now use the following 'subordinating conjunctions' to create a few sentences of your own: ' however', 'although', 'therefore' and 'even if'. Can you recognise the main clauses in your own sentences and their dependent clauses?
Now write a paragraph in which you describe a friend. Aim to use a variety of sentence types. Does it create a pleasing style?
Now try to use predominantly simple sentences. What is the stylistic effect?