Complex Sentences in English Writing – Learn How to Make Complex Sentences


Hi, I’m Gina. Welcome to Oxford Online English! In this lesson, you can learn how to make
different types of complex sentence in English. Making complex sentences will help your English
writing. By using a variety of complex sentence forms,
your writing will become more versatile and elegant. Using a range of complex sentences in your
writing is also important if you’re preparing for an English writing exam like IELTS, TOEFL,
or FCE. Before we start, two things. One: have you visited our website yet? If not, why not? We have free video lessons, listening lessons,
quizzes, and also many professional teachers who offer online lessons. Check it out: Oxford Online English dot com. Two: we want to tell you about this lesson,
who it’s for, what’s in it and what isn’t. This lesson will focus on grammar structures
for forming complex sentences without using conjunctions. If you want to learn about using conjunctions
to form complex sentences, you can watch our video about linking words for IELTS writing. There’s a link in the video description. Also, using these structures requires that
you have at least an intermediate knowledge of English grammar. This lesson assumes that you know how to form
different verb forms and use relative clauses, among other things. This lesson is technical and contains a lot
of information. You might need to watch it in sections, and
repeat sections several times. Finally, a warning! Using complex sentences can enhance your writing,
but *only* if you have complex, coherent ideas behind them. If your ideas are basic, or incoherent, using
what you think are ‘advanced’ grammar structures won’t help. Okay, let’s start. Here’s how this lesson will work. First, look at four sentences:
Pause the video, read the sentences, and look up any words you don’t know. If you want to read more about tulip mania,
there’s a link to a Wikipedia article in the video description. Ready? These sentences are all grammatically simple,
meaning that they each have one main verb. Now, you’ll see four different grammatical
tools you can use to combine and add to these sentences to make them richer and more complex. Do you know what -ing participle clauses are,
and how you can use them? If not, don’t worry; look at an example
based on our first sentence: Here, you use a participle clause to connect
two ideas. You can use an -ing participle clause to connect
two ideas which happen at the same time, or to show cause and effect. In this case, you could express the same idea
using ‘because’, like this: The -ing participle clause does not have a
subject. In a sentence like this with two clauses,
the -ing clause can *only* refer to the subject in the second clause. You can’t have two subjects. When writing, make sure your sentence has
a clear subject. Don’t write something like this. Here, it isn’t clear what ‘it’ refers
to. Let’s practise! Here are two ideas. Can you connect them using an -ing participle
clause? Pause the video and think about your answer. Want a hint? Your answer should be quite similar to the
example you saw before. Ready? Here’s the answer. There’s one more way to use -ing clauses:
you can use a perfect -ing form, with ‘having’ plus a past participle, to show that one thing
happened before another. For example: So, quick review: you can use -ing participle
clauses to do three things. Do you remember them? One: use them to show that two actions happened
at the same time. Two: use them to show cause and effect. Three: use them—with ‘having’ plus a
past participle—to show that one thing happened after another. Remember that you can always review a section
if you need more time to work on it. Let’s move on to our next point. There are two kinds of participle clauses:
-ing clauses and -ed clauses. Look at an example of two ideas linked with
an -ed participle clause: This links two ideas. You can use -ed participle clauses when you
have two clauses with the same subject, and one of the clauses has a passive verb. Like -ing clauses, -ed participle clauses
do not have a subject in the participle clause. Let’s look at another example. This time, you can try to make the complex
sentence: Can you combine these two sentences with an
-ed participle clause? Pause the video if you need time to make your
answer. Ready? Here’s the answer. Because the -ed clause doesn’t have a main
verb, the verb tense information—‘had been cultivated’—disappears in the -ed
clause. However, no meaning is lost. In these two sections, you’ve seen how to
use -ing and -ed participle clauses to link two full, independent clauses. However, there’s another way to use them. Look at an example:
Can you see how this is different? In this case, you’re using the -ed participle
clause not to replace an independent clause, but instead to replace a relative clause. Relative clauses are one of the most powerful
ways to add and combine ideas in complex sentences. Let’s look in more detail! Relative clauses can do two things. One: you can use a relative clause to add
information to a noun or noun phrase. Two: you can use a relative clause with ‘which’
to add information to a sentence or idea. Let’s look at an example of the first case:
using a relative clause to add information to a noun. Here, you use a relative clause—‘which
occurred in Holland’—to add information to the noun phrase ‘tulip mania’. Relative clauses used like this can *only*
describe the noun they come after. Don’t write something like this: If you’re using a relative clause to add
information to a noun, the clause *must* come directly after the noun or noun phrase. You can use multiple relative clauses in the
same sentence; for example: Here, you add a second relative clause, with
‘when’, to add more information about the noun ‘1637’. Using multiple relative clauses like this
allows you to structure your ideas in different ways. For example, you could also write this:
This might be useful if you want to add more information about ‘Holland’ later in the
sentence, like this: Let’s practise! Look at two ideas:
Can you connect these two ideas using a relative clause? There are two possible answers. Pause the video and make your answer. Ready? Here are the two possibilities. Did you get the right answer? Even better, did you get both? For an extra challenge, can you add a third idea? Here’s a hint: ‘1637’ appears twice,
and you need to link the two instances. Here’s the best way to do it:
Let’s look at one more point here. You can also use a relative clause to add
information or explanation to a whole idea. Look at an example:
Here, you’re using the relative clause to explain the whole idea of the first clause. You’re not just adding information to one
noun phrase. To use relative clauses in this way, you need
to do two things. One: you can *only* use ‘which’ as the
relative pronoun. Two: your relative clause must add an explanation
or an opinion related to the idea before the relative clause. You can’t add factual information or details
in this way. Now, let’s look at one more way to form
complex sentences. To be a good writer, you should make it clear
which ideas are more important. In English, ideas which are close to the beginning
of the sentence are more important than others. So, if you want to emphasise an idea, you
should find a way to move it to the beginning of the sentence. You can do this by using ‘it’, like this:
Here, you’re focusing on the year, 1637. Often, you use this structure to focus on
a factual detail, like a person, time, place and so on. You can also combine this with other structures
you’ve seen in this lesson. For example, you could add a relative clause
to the end of this sentence, like this. Look at a sentence. You want to emphasise the idea of
‘Holland’ or the idea of ‘1593’. Can you write two different sentences, starting
with ‘it’, to emphasise these two ideas? Pause the video and do it now. Did you get your answers? Take a look. In the first sentence, you’ll probably need
to change the structure a little by separating ‘in 1593’ from the main clause using a
comma. Now, you’ve seen several ways to form complex
sentence structures in English. What should you do if you want more practice? First, you can use a grammar book or other
resources to practise the topics you’ve seen in this lesson. Look for chapters and exercises on -ing participle
clauses, -ed participle clauses, relative clauses, and cleft sentences. ‘Cleft sentences’ are also called ‘focusing
clauses’ in some books and materials. Secondly, remember that the ideas in this
lesson are not the only way to connect ideas into complex sentences. You should also learn how to use a range of
conjunctions and linking phrases to build sentences. Finally, practise writing, and try to use
some of these ideas in your writing. Get good quality feedback to make sure that
your writing is clear, well-organised and accurate. If you need help from a teacher, then our
teachers can work with you to improve your English writing. You can take a discounted trial lesson on
our website—look for the link under the video, or visit Oxford Online English dot
com and click ‘get started’! That’s all. Thanks for watching! See you next time!

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27 thoughts on “Complex Sentences in English Writing – Learn How to Make Complex Sentences”

  1. Mhk Sandhu says:

    Thank you I got 8.0 bands in IELTS writing.

  2. Arashdeep Singh says:

    Appropriate topic

  3. Ajay Kumar says:

    Informative lesson

  4. oni Gonzalez says:


  5. American English With Grant says:

    Really good lesson. A lot of my students have a really hard time making more complex sentences. These are some great tips, and easy to understand examples. Thanks!

  6. Senda Tamie says:

    Oxford Online English teachers here are all my favorites. Thank you so much !!

  7. Rajkumar M says:

    Separate video in defendant clauses adverb clauses

  8. Yahye Kullane says:

    Is there anyone else who is struggling to visit this website through the link guys ?

  9. Manish Sharma says:

    At 13.36, in cleft sentence, I used WHEN instead of THAT, however, structure of sentence was same as you have done it.

  10. Nawar Nawar says:

    Thank you guys. A lot of information has been given here.
    I think we ca't write any topic correctly without knowing these basic rules.

  11. Moazzem Hossain says:

    I am really grateful on your lesson. Please help me more about complex and compound sentences. Thanks a million dear ……

  12. isuru muthuarachchi says:

    Thanks and Very informative video, how about a part 2?

  13. Dj Marcio Rocha says:

    Thanks so much guys, one more useful video probably I will watch this video a lot of times to learning.
    Always a pleasure

  14. David Abilash says:

    342 like from India kolar

  15. Victor Bondar says:

    Again my favorit teachers are giving vary useful, and good for understanding to me lessons. Exuce me for the mistakes

  16. Victor Bondar says:

    When i see news on English, i do not well understand all words, which i hear, but in OOE lessons i understand more than 90 percents of information.

  17. Vy Ngo says:

    Here are my examples:
    1. Being as one of the illegal drugs in sports competitions, doping is still used by many athletes these days.
    2. Having completed the Master of Education in TESOL program at Ho Chi Minh City Open University, she went to America to continue her further education.
    3. Adelaide, which has been voted the most livable city in the world, is the fifth largest city in Australia.
    4. It was your sister-in-law who I met on the way back from work yesterday.
    5. It was in 1987 that Princess Diana changed attitudes to AIDS by shaking hands with a man who was dying of AIDS without wearing gloves.
    6. Started in 1945, Vietnam's illiteracy eradication policy was aimed at opening classes and launching diverse learning activities to help learners develop both their reading and writing skills.
    7. My essay on Artifical Intelligence, which I found quite difficult at the beginning, got a really good mark in the end.

  18. Alexandr Padalka says:


  19. Peter Williams says:

    You are still having sound recording problems. The lady is clear but the mans sound is distorted! It’s ok for native speakers to understand but not for learners, it makes it hard for them to follow.

  20. John Barnes says:

    She is gorgeous

  21. Mary Dc says:

    Could you please make a video about Thought Groups, Phrasing or Chunks? That will be amazing.

  22. Tan Tommy says:

    What is the meaning of clauses?

  23. Ningappa HBR says:

    This is very advanced lesson, and very useful one. It takes much time to study such lessons . Thanks for giving us great lesson.

  24. Trafalgar Law says:

    In part 4 (cleft sentences)
    Can I not use "when" instead of "that"?

  25. Mustafa Kasem says:

    The sound isn't as good as Oxford online english

  26. Rania AlLahham says:

    Thank you,
    professional work and team.

  27. Rahmatullah Soltani says:

    I really wonder, who can put dislike in such an informative and usefull lesson video!!!

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