Author Topic: Complex sentence vs compound-complex sentence  (Read 1703 times)

Offline aaronymncl

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Complex sentence vs compound-complex sentence
« on: April 28, 2016, 10:45:24 AM »
Hi I would like to ask

E.g. I have finished my homework before my mum has gone back home and finished cooking the meal.

Is it a complex sentence structure? A main clause + a subordinating adverbial clause.


Or is it a compound complex one?

Main clause + a subordinating clause +(a co-ordinater)+ a subordinating clasuse.

Please help me!!!! :-[

Offline Daniel

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Re: Complex sentence vs compound-complex sentence
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2016, 11:41:52 AM »
What do you think the parts are?

It depends somewhat on the definition given that the 'and' does not join two complete sentences, but some analyses would say that it is a reduced form of two separate sentences ('...my mum has gone back home and my mum has finished...').

This seems like it might be a homework question. Please be aware we don't do homework for you. We can discuss concepts or sometimes provide discussion about specific questions you have (in this case, your question is specific enough it's probably ok).
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Offline aaronymncl

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Re: Complex sentence vs compound-complex sentence
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2016, 12:12:21 PM »
It's not a homework haha! I'm just preparing my final exam of analysing two texts within 2 hours.

I would say it is a complex sentence but my textbooks said this kind of sentences should be compound-complex.

E.g. As I am tired and sleepy, I don't want to do the housework now.

'As I am tired and I am sleepy' <- it's still a subordinating adverbial clause for reasoning no matter what is inside and functioning as a subordination. The main clause is 'I don't want to do the housework now.'

However, my textbook said if there are two sentences linking with a co-ordinating conjunction and have tow equal value, it is a coordination.

Thats why I am so confused right now.

When I see this type of sentences should I label it as complex sentence or compound complex one


Offline Daniel

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Re: Complex sentence vs compound-complex sentence
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2016, 04:21:36 PM »
(Note: my main research area is on coordination, although this is more about labeling English sentences by 'rules' than the kind of theoretical research I do, so that may not be too directly relevant.)

I agree with you. That looks like a complex sentence (that is, a sentence with a subordinate clause), which happens to include a smaller phrase that is compound (coordinated).

A compound-complex sentence is not really a good "type"* of sentence on its own. It just means that it has both types involved in one:
"I am a student, and I do my homework, because I want a good grade."

Technically speaking, that sentence is more compound than complex:
I am a student, and [I do my homework because I want a good grade].

While another sentence might be more complex than compound:
I eat vegetables because [I want to lose weight and I want to be healthy].

[*the important point is that there are these two subtypes, and also infinitely many more possible combinations of multiple layers of coordination ['compound'] or subordination ['complex'], so you could have a compound-compound-complex-complex-compound... sentence!]

The difference between these sentences and yours, however, is that they involve complete clauses for all of the parts. The sentences you have shown have only smaller phrases (like verbs or nouns) coordinated ("compound noun" or "compound verb" doesn't really sound right). Not whole sentences.

In the end, this is all actually very unimportant because it's just a matter of definition. Does your textbook/teacher define "complex sentence" or "compound sentence" as involving a whole sentence or parts of a sentence?

Are these "simple" or "compound" sentences?
"I like apples and bananas."
"I eat and drink."

If they are compound, then your original sentences are compound-complex. If not, then they are not.

The main problem with this is that these labels are meaningless from a theoretical or analytical perspective. They only hold meaning in the context where there is some purpose for asking the question, e.g., "is this sentence complex?". So you'll have to ask your teacher why that question is being asked, or short of that precisely how this is defined, to get there. But if you understand WHY you're having difficulty here (it's a good reason) then you already UNDERSTAND the material, regardless of whether you can "properly" label them.

What class is this for? This doesn't really fit into modern linguistics terminology. It sounds more like something for an English course (I did this at school when learning about fundamentals of grammar, writing and literature). In a Linguistics course you would probably refer to these as "coordination" and "subordination". Those are certainly standard terms, although in fact these days a lot of research questions whether there is a strict distinction between the two or a range between them.
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