Complicated Sentences

They're Long, They're Boring...and You Already Use Them

Academic Writing Often Uses Complex Sentences

By reputation, academic journal articles are difficult to read.  They tend to use longer sentences packed with long words — sometimes, trying to understand the sentences feels like untying a tangled shoelace that's been left to rot in the rain.  If you've read the book Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, you know exactly what I mean.

For college courses, you're required to write papers that will use complex sentences.  When mixing together outside research, conflicting opinions, and personal experience, you need sentences that use multiple clauses.  Sometimes, you may even need to use multiple subjects and verb tenses within the same sentence.

The Four Sentence Types

In writing, you should use a variety of the following sentence types:

by English Lessons with Adam.  This also gives excellent review of independent and dependent clauses.

You Already Use Complicated Sentences

In general, most of us already use complex sentences in everyday speech.  For example:

Grammar Girl illustrates how to write Writing Complex Compound Sentence by Grammar Girl.  Learn to use a variety of clauses.

Clauses Are the Key to Revising Complex Sentences

In academic writing, however, the sentences are often more complicated.  Because they're written, you're also expected to revise and refine them until they're "better" than what you'd say to a friend:

Quick Tips on Complex Sentences

Revising the Complicated Sentence

When you break down a complex sentence, you first examine how the clauses function.  Specifically, we have independent and dependent clauses:

Outside Resources for Revision

Video: Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences from Learn English Lab.  This video delves into the use of commas and conjunctions to illustrate how complex sentences function.