So far we identified what a complex sentence is and also identified the different clauses which may form a complex sentence. Then we analyzed in detail each type of clauses and their sentence patterns. In this final stage we try to analysis complex sentences so that students can identify the various clauses and their relation to each other.

In analyzing complex sentences, first step should be identifying the independent clause (or the main clause). The next step is to identify the dependent clauses (or subordinate clauses) and each clause’s relation to the independent clause.

Let us have a look at the following example:

When mother asked how he got his leg injured, he replied that he met with an accident.

The above sentence contains 03 dependent clauses:

  1. He replied. (Independent clause)

  2. When mother asked. (Adverb clause of time modifying the verb, replied)

  3. He met with an accident. (Noun clause being the object of the verb, replied)

Sometimes, a dependent clause can have another dependant clause within it. Let us see an example:

I believe that he did not receive the letter which I sent last week.

  1. I believe. (Independent clause)

  2. That he did not receive. (Noun clause, object of believe)

  3. Which I sent last week. (Adjective clause, modifying the noun, letter)

Sentences may be more complex in the case of compound complex sentences where there may be several complex sentences joined by coordinating conjunctions.

Let us see the below example:

Police asked how he found the bag, but he refused to answer since he was scared.

You will notice that there are two independent clauses joined together by but. Note that both independent clauses have dependent clauses.

Let us see another example:

Peter came to Anthony when he saw him at the market, and he told him that he wished to come out of his debt by a marriage with a wealthy lady whom he loves, whose father has left her a profitable business.

  1. Peter came to Anthony. (Independent clause 1)

  2. When he saw him (Adverb clause of time modifying came in Independent clause 1)

  3. He told him. (Independent clause 2)

  4. That he wished to come out of his debt by a marriage with a wealthy lady. (Noun clause, object of told of independent clause 2)

  5. Whom he loves. (Adjective clause, modifying lady of Independent clause 2)

  6. Whose father has left her a profitable business. (Adjective clause, modifying lady


Try to analyze the clauses in the following examples:

  1. I regularly advised him that such business tactics will not result in any profit for him but he never accepted my advice and he continued to follow the same which finally resulted in a huge loss for him.

  2. He was satisfied with the things he had and it will be his pride and pleasure to hand down his business to his children as he received it from those who preceded him.

  3. With reluctance, she accepted the invitations of her old faithful friend, who once scolded her for refusing meat; but she said that he had become a vegetarian.

  4. I know a doctor with spiritual powers who can cure your illness although your doctor says it is incurable, but it is not possible to meet him immediately since there are thousands of patients are waiting to meet him but you may give it a try.

  5. Whenever there is something that I don’t know I tend to search on the internet but you need to know the reliability of the sites you browse since different sites are there for different purposes.

  6. The Police informed him that he needs to provide the correct information and if the information give is found to be untrue he will be sued in the Court where you may face sever punishments for providing false information.

Complex Sentence: Clause Analysis
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