Complex sentences

S10

 

Complex sentences are formed when two or more clauses are connected to each other in a coordinate or subordinate manner. A complex sentence consists therefore of a main clause and another main or subordinate clause.

 

 

In a complex sentence at least two clauses are connected

 

1. Either in a coordinate manner :

 

  Examples
main clause + main clause Ich leihe dir das Geld, aber du gibst es mir morgen zurück.
subordinate clause + subordinate clause MC, weil er keine Lust hatte und weil er müde war.

 

 

2. or in a subordinate manner:

 

  Examples
main clause + subordinate clause Er vertraut ihm nicht, obwohl er sein bester Freund ist.
subordinate clause + subordinate clause HS, dass er nicht kommen kann, weil er krank ist.

 

 

The difference between a main clause and a subordinate clause lies in the fact that a main clause can stand alone in speech i.e. is not dependent on another clause. On the contrary, a subordinate clause always depends on another clause, main or subordinate.

 


 

 

Subordinate clauses are classified in various categories according to their type and function.

 

 

Based on their type they are categorized in two groups.

 

The first group involves the question of whether the subordinate clause is introduced by a conjunction or not. There are subordinate clauses that begin with a conjunction and others that do not :

 

  Examples
subordinate with a conjunction Ich hoffe, dass ich dich wiedersehe.
subordinate without a conjunction Ich hoffe, dich wiederzusehen.

 

 

The second group involves the question of whether the subordinate clause contains a finite or non-finite verb form. So, there are subordinate clauses that contain a finite verb form and subordinate clauses that contain a non-finite verb form. In German they are called Partizipialsätze (participle clauses) and Infinitivsätze (infinitive clauses) respectively.

 

  Examples
subordinate clause with a finite verb form Ich hoffe, dass ich dich wiedersehe.
subordinate clause with a non-finite verb form Ich hoffe, dich wiederzusehen.

 


 

 

Finally, subordinate clauses are classified according to their function. A subordinate clause may have the following syntactic functions:

 

  Examples
subject Dass sie kommt, ist sicher.
object Ich weiß, dass sie kommt.
adverbial Sie wird kommen, weil sie mich sprechen will.
attributive adjective Die Frau, die mich sprechen will, wird kommen.