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How to Make Complex Sentences in IELTS: What is Complex Sentence With Example

Updated on 24 June, 2024

Excelling in the IELTS exam requires competency in various sentence structures. Using complex sentences, in particular, in your writing and speaking answers can significantly boost your IELTS scores.

To put it simply, complex sentences are two or more simple sentences joined together by a subordinating conjunction. 
Learning how to make complex sentences in IELTS is crucial as students often write lengthy and indecipherable sentences that can impact their scores.

If you are a study abroad aspirant, read more to learn how to make complex sentences in IELTS. 

What is Complex Sentence

Complex sentences are often used in IELTS to elaborate on or clarify the main idea by combining two or three simple sentences. They also help in connecting multiple ideas seamlessly. 
A complex sentence consists of one independent and at least one dependent clause. An independent clause can stand on its own, while a dependent clause cannot make sense independently and relies on the independent sentence to provide context or additional information. It complements the independent sentence by presenting a related fact or detail. 
A dependent clause could be an adjective, noun, or adverb. Here are some examples of complex sentences for IELTS:

  • My brother is currently employed at Amazon, having finished his mechanical engineering degree.
  • Our camping plans are dependent on favorable weather conditions.
  • Jason’s father, who works in a garage, likes cars.

Importance of Complex Sentences in IELTS

Using complex sentences in IELTS is beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Shows Language Competence: Using complex sentences demonstrates greater language competence by showcasing your ability to use vocabulary and syntax properly.
  • Enhances Coherence and Cohesion: Complex sentences help you to convey multiple ideas coherently.
  • Extends Vocabulary: Creating complex sentences frequently calls for using a wide variety of vocabulary, which can enhance your lexical resource and help improve your scores.
  • Sentence Variety: Adding complex sentences to your answers along with simple and compound phrases gives them a more interesting and polished appeal.
  • Allows for In-Depth Analysis: Writing complex sentences helps you get deeper into concepts, give more thorough explanations, and substantiate arguments with evidence. This is especially crucial while writing answers in the IELTS exam.  

How to Make Complex Sentences in IELTS Writing Section

Complex sentences make use of sophisticated devices to join subordinate (dependent) clauses with a main (or independent) clause.
There are three main ways to construct complex sentences by joining the clauses and these are as follows:

  • By making use of relative pronouns such as that, which, who, and whose. For example, I bought a pen, the color of which is black.
  •  By using conjunctions (subordinating) like while, as, where, when, until, before, because, although, unless, since, whenever, if, through, etc.For example, you will excel in your tasks only if you work hard.
  •  By making use of verb structures, verb forms like gerunds (-ing verb form) or an infinitive verb form such as to go, to become, to see. For example, It is very risky to drive on the road during the rainy season.

Here is an example of how to write complex sentences for IELTS:
Suppose we have four main ideas to articulate at the start. These can be: 

  •  Environmental pollution is a big issue these days. 
  •  Global warming is leading to severe environmental pollution. 
  •  Numerous challenges are arising from global warming. 
  •  Global warming has disastrous consequences for the planet. 

 In this case, what is your complex sentence going to look like?

Global warming creates massive environmental pollution, which is a big issue these days. Several problems are arising from global warming, and it may have disastrous future consequences. 

This is only one example. In general, use complex sentences when stating the core points and usually while starting a paragraph. They expand the main point of your essay while providing a supporting instance. 

The following activity will help you get a stronghold of complex sentences:

  • Start by learning about the sentence structure and its components, like the subordinate and independent clauses. 
  • Take two simple sentences and convert them into a compound sentence. You can do this by:
    • Adding adjectival clauses to describe the nouns.
    • Modifying the verb using adverbial clauses to make the sentence more appealing.

Many people confuse complex sentences with sentences that use advanced vocabulary, which is not the correct approach. On the contrary, the complex sentences are cohesive and informative. These sentences speak volumes about the depth of knowledge a candidate encompasses. 

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Complex Sentence Types and Examples

1.Subordinate Clause Sentences

These sentences include an independent clause followed by a dependent clause. For example, the independent clause may be Urbanization is changing rural areas, while the dependent clause may be – It helps create more trade and commerce opportunities. Now, you can bring them together in a complex sentence- Urbanization is changing rural areas since it helps create more trade and commerce opportunities

Another example could be – Pollution is taking place because of human ignorance and neglect. One more example could be – Smugglers should be imprisoned, even if it is their first criminal offense

You do not always have to insert the dependent clause after the independent clause to demonstrate your hold on grammar in IELTS. You can even start with a subordinate or dependent clause in some cases. Hence, for any of the above sentences, you can also follow this format. An example could be: Even if it is their first criminal offense, smugglers should be imprisoned.

2. Relative Clause Sentences

Relative clauses help to provide added details about any place, individual, or thing. To help you understand how to make complex sentences in IELTS, you can look at the following examples:  

  1. The destruction of the Nemo starship, which the warlords protest against, continues unabated to date. 
  2. Automation, which takes away employment opportunities, is leading to poverty in several regions.

Remember that the clause will follow the noun, it describes, and the independent clause should function independently, possessing a verb, subject, and object. Verb agreements are necessary, both in the plural and singular forms. 

An example is- Celebrities who uphold the law get a lot of positive attention. The comma is absent after the first word in this case. Yet, there are sentences where comma usage is indispensable, i.e., Alibaug, where many holiday homes have come up, is located in the State of Maharashtra

3. Compound Sentences

Compound sentences connect two independent clauses with conjunctions. These conjunctions  include – norforandyetorbut and others. Here are some examples : 

  1. Urbanization is increasing rapidly, and it is harmful to rural traditions
  2. Public transportation costs are the government’s responsibility, but the sector is cash-strapped.

4. Complex Sentence Fusion 

If you wish to use complex sentences in further combinations, here are some more examples: 

Combining Clauses 
Governments are elected for running countries and collecting taxes from all citizens, but they are often non-transparent

You can add more elements and create this sentence: Governments, democratically elected in most countries, are designed to run countries and collect taxes from all citizens, although they are often non-transparent 

Adding Contrast

You can also add the contrast angle with sentences like- 

  1. Sales of music apps have increased rapidly, while the sales of audio CDs have dropped
  2. Advocates of organic cultivation state that it will enhance food quality However, others feel that it will ultimately disrupt the natural growth cycle

Expressing Purpose

You can also display a sense of purpose with sentences like: 

  1. The shed was demolished so that another house could be built. 
  2. Many people speak in favor of repairing and keeping classic cars because by doing this, our automotive heritage will be maintained

Using Concessional Approaches

Concessional approaches mean sentences like- 

  1. Although we are aware of the growing dangers of pollution, we end up ignoring it
  2. Despite knowing about his hamstring injury, the team management still fielded him for the crucial game

Using Conditional Approaches

Conditional approaches mean sentences like this- 

  1. You won’t get a distinction in your course unless you score well in the philosophy examination
  2. If the authorities had taken action quickly, the scenario could have been different

Using Time-Bound Approaches

There are time-bound approaches that you can use. 

  1. When considering the upcoming proposal, we need to list down the core pointers in advance
  2. As soon as this law is introduced in the market, the entire situation will get better

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Tips for Using Complex Sentences in IELTS 

Here are some valuable tips for incorporating complex sentences, which can demonstrate your language proficiency and improve your score:

  • Diversify sentence structures: Incorporate a mix of sentence types—simple, compound, and complex—to show your versatility in writing.
  • Utilize subordinate clauses: Add depth to your writing by integrating subordinate clauses, providing essential details, and maintaining connections between ideas.
  • Avoid excessive complexity: While complex sentences are beneficial, they ensure clarity and logical flow. Use them judiciously where they enhance coherence without overwhelming the reader.
  • Analyze sample essays: Study well-scored IELTS essays to understand the effective use of complex sentences. Learn complex sentence structures for IELTS from various official resources and apply similar techniques in your writing.
  • Prioritize clarity: Emphasize clarity in your complex sentences. To avoid confusion, you should convey the main idea and ensure coherence between clauses.
  • Check for accuracy: Complex sentences require meticulous attention to grammar, punctuation, and agreement. Avoid errors that can detract from your writing quality.
  • Manage time effectively: Practice constructing complex sentences efficiently to maintain a steady pace during the writing test.

 Practicing Complex Sentences for IELTS

You can follow the given steps to practice complex sentences for the IELTS exam:

  • Use subordinating conjunctions: Incorporate subordinating conjunctions like "although," "because," "while," and "since" to connect clauses and create complex sentences. 
  • Combine ideas: Take simple sentences and combine them using relative clauses, adverbial clauses, or conditional clauses to form complex sentences.
  • Vary sentence structures: Experiment with different sentence structures, such as starting with a dependent clause followed by an independent clause or vice versa, to improve your writing.
  • Practice writing prompts: Use IELTS writing prompts to practice constructing complex sentences within the context of the exam tasks.
  • Review and revise: Regularly review your complex sentences, identify errors or areas for improvement, and revise accordingly to improve your skills.

What are Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making Complex Sentences in IELTS 

Here are a few mistakes to avoid for how to write complex sentences in IELTS:

  • Avoiding sentence fragments: The key to preventing sentence fragments is a deep understanding of grammar rules, which is especially crucial in writing complex sentences for IELTS. 
  • Avoiding run-on sentences: Mastery of punctuation is vital to steer clear of run-on sentences. Merely relying on commas to link sentences isn't always sufficient; knowing when to use appropriate punctuation marks is crucial for writing complex sentences for IELTS. 
  • Linking short sentences together: Although concise sentences enhance readability, excessively short sentences can disrupt the flow and appear monotonous. It is essential to have clarity in writing.

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Preparing well for the complex structures in the IELTS exam can significantly improve your chances of getting higher marks in the writing and speaking sections. By using the above mentioned tips, you can streamline your preparation and score well.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a complex sentence?

A complex sentence is made up of two or three simple sentences to expand an idea or a situation. They are of different types, for example, relative sentences, compound sentences, subordinate sentences, and conditional sentences. Various words used in complex sentence construction include commonly used conjunctions (unless, and, whereas) and relative pronouns( that, who, which). They form an important aspect of the IELTS writing task to showcase the grammatical range.

How to make complex sentences in IELTS writing?

Complex sentences are formed in many different ways using conjunctions like so, and, yet in case of compound sentences or using relative pronounces such as who, which in case of relative sentences or using subordinate conjunctions such as because, while, whereas, although. For instance, If all the nations adopt renewable sources of energy then the menace of air pollution can be curbed.

How to make complex sentences in IELTS speaking?

Constructing complex sentences is relatively easy and it also gives you a chance to showcase your grammatical range. To make complex sentences, knowledge of various conjunctions (simple or subordinate), and relative pronouns become important. You can start with constructing complex sentences that are not hard to understand. Additionally, memorize some important conjunctions and use them in your daily conversations.Accuracy is equally important and plays an important role in scoring good bands.

How to use complex sentences in IELTS?

A complex sentence has two components; an independent clause and a dependent clause. You should keep a few points in mind while using complex sentences. 

  1. There needs to be a mixture of simple and complex sentences 

  2. Accuracy plays an equally important role when you are showcasing your grammatical range, therefore a good idea of the usage of punctuation is important. 

  3. There has to be a variety in the complex sentence construction by incorporating subordinate pronouns, relative pronouns or simple conjunctions, etc.

What are five examples of complex sentences?

Five examples of complex sentences are as follows:

  1. The content delivered by the writers was the same as I expected.

  2. Some nations have relaxed the COVID restrictions while others struggle with rising cases.

  3. Although there is a warning issued on the cover of cigarettes on cancer yet some people continue to smoke.

  4. Plastic Pollution has adversely affected the marine ecosystem but no serious action is taken by mankind to prevent it.

  5. Heatwave warnings have been issued in some states as the temperature soared high.

What resources can I use to practice constructing complex sentences for IELTS

The IELTS Official Website - Sample Test Questions and IELTS Prepare are some of the common resources aspirants can use to access free sample questions, familiarize themselves with the test format, and practice constructing complex sentences.

Urvi Agrawal

Urvi has 3 years of experience as a content writer and marketer. Over years, she has established herself as a study-abroad expert and is adept at crafting compelling and engaging content for students. Self-driven and passionate professional, she likes writing poetry and has authored a poetry book ‘Thoughts of a Wallflower’.

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