B1 Intermediate US 108 Folder Collection
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Hi, I’m Gina.
Welcome to Oxford Online English!
In this lesson, you can learn how to make different types of complex sentence in English.
Making complex sentences will help your English writing.
By using a variety of complex sentence forms, your writing will become more versatile and
elegant.
Using a range of complex sentences in your writing is also important if you’re preparing
for an English writing exam like IELTS, TOEFL, or FCE.
Before we start, two things.
One: have you visited our website yet?
If not, why not?
We have free video lessons, listening lessons, quizzes, and also many professional teachers
who offer online lessons.
Check it out: Oxford Online English dot com.
Two: we want to tell you about this lesson, who it’s for, what’s in it and what isn’t.
This lesson will focus on grammar structures for forming complex sentences without using
conjunctions.
If you want to learn about using conjunctions to form complex sentences, you can watch our
video about linking words for IELTS writing.
There’s a link in the video description.
Also, using these structures requires that you have at least an intermediate knowledge
of English grammar.
This lesson assumes that you know how to form different verb forms and use relative clauses,
among other things.
This lesson is technical and contains a lot of information.
You might need to watch it in sections, and repeat sections several times.
Finally, a warning!
Using complex sentences can enhance your writing, but *only* if you have complex, coherent ideas
behind them.
If your ideas are basic, or incoherent, using what you think are ‘advanced’ grammar
structures won’t help.
Okay, let’s start.
Here’s how this lesson will work.
First, look at four sentences: Pause the video, read the sentences, and look
up any words you don’t know.
If you want to read more about tulip mania, there’s a link to a Wikipedia article in
the video description.
Ready?
These sentences are all grammatically simple, meaning that they each have one main verb.
Now, you’ll see four different grammatical tools you can use to combine and add to these
sentences to make them richer and more complex.
Do you know what -ing participle clauses are, and how you can use them?
If not, don’t worry; look at an example based on our first sentence:
Here, you use a participle clause to connect two ideas.
You can use an -ing participle clause to connect two ideas which happen at the same time, or
to show cause and effect.
In this case, you could express the same idea using ‘because’, like this:
The -ing participle clause does not have a subject.
In a sentence like this with two clauses, the -ing clause can *only* refer to the subject
in the second clause.
You can’t have two subjects.
When writing, make sure your sentence has a clear subject.
Don’t write something like this.
Here, it isn’t clear what ‘it’ refers to.
Let’s practise!
Here are two ideas.
Can you connect them using an -ing participle clause?
Pause the video and think about your answer.
Want a hint?
Your answer should be quite similar to the example you saw before.
Ready?
Here’s the answer.
There’s one more way to use -ing clauses: you can use a perfect -ing form, with ‘having’
plus a past participle, to show that one thing happened before another.
For example:
So, quick review: you can use -ing participle clauses to do three things.
Do you remember them?
One: use them to show that two actions happened at the same time.
Two: use them to show cause and effect.
Three: use them—with ‘having’ plus a past participle—to show that one thing happened
after another.
Remember that you can always review a section if you need more time to work on it.
Let’s move on to our next point.
There are two kinds of participle clauses: -ing clauses and -ed clauses.
Look at an example of two ideas linked with an -ed participle clause:
This links two ideas.
You can use -ed participle clauses when you have two clauses with the same subject, and
one of the clauses has a passive verb.
Like -ing clauses, -ed participle clauses do not have a subject in the participle clause.
Let’s look at another example.
This time, you can try to make the complex sentence:
Can you combine these two sentences with an -ed participle clause?
Pause the video if you need time to make your answer.
Ready?
Here’s the answer.
Because the -ed clause doesn’t have a main verb, the verb tense information—‘had
been cultivated’—disappears in the -ed clause.
However, no meaning is lost.
In these two sections, you’ve seen how to use -ing and -ed participle clauses to link
two full, independent clauses.
However, there’s another way to use them.
Look at an example: Can you see how this is different?
In this case, you’re using the -ed participle clause not to replace an independent clause,
but instead to replace a relative clause.
Relative clauses are one of the most powerful ways to add and combine ideas in complex sentences.
Let’s look in more detail!
Relative clauses can do two things.
One: you can use a relative clause to add information to a noun or noun phrase.
Two: you can use a relative clause with ‘which’ to add information to a sentence or idea.
Let’s look at an example of the first case: using a relative clause to add information
to a noun.
Here, you use a relative clause—‘which occurred in Holland’—to add information
to the noun phrase ‘tulip mania’.
Relative clauses used like this can *only* describe the noun they come after.
Don’t write something like this:
If you’re using a relative clause to add information to a noun, the clause *must* come
directly after the noun or noun phrase.
You can use multiple relative clauses in the same sentence; for example:
Here, you add a second relative clause, with ‘when’, to add more information about
the noun ‘1637’.
Using multiple relative clauses like this allows you to structure your ideas in different
ways.
For example, you could also write this: This might be useful if you want to add more
information about ‘Holland’ later in the sentence, like this:
Let’s practise!
Look at two ideas: Can you connect these two ideas using a relative
clause?
There are two possible answers.
Pause the video and make your answer.
Ready?
Here are the two possibilities.
Did you get the right answer?
Even better, did you get both?
For an extra challenge, can you add a third idea?
Here’s a hint: ‘1637’ appears twice, and you need to link the two instances.
Here’s the best way to do it: Let’s look at one more point here.
You can also use a relative clause to add information or explanation to a whole idea.
Look at an example: Here, you’re using the relative clause to
explain the whole idea of the first clause.
You’re not just adding information to one noun phrase.
To use relative clauses in this way, you need to do two things.
One: you can *only* use ‘which’ as the relative pronoun.
Two: your relative clause must add an explanation or an opinion related to the idea before the
relative clause.
You can’t add factual information or details in this way.
Now, let’s look at one more way to form complex sentences.
To be a good writer, you should make it clear which ideas are more important.
In English, ideas which are close to the beginning of the sentence are more important than others.
So, if you want to emphasise an idea, you should find a way to move it to the beginning
of the sentence.
You can do this by using ‘it’, like this: Here, you’re focusing on the year, 1637.
Often, you use this structure to focus on a factual detail, like a person, time, place
and so on.
You can also combine this with other structures you’ve seen in this lesson.
For example, you could add a relative clause to the end of this sentence, like this.
Look at a sentence.
You want to emphasise the idea of ‘Holland’ or the idea of ‘1593’.
Can you write two different sentences, starting with ‘it’, to emphasise these two ideas?
Pause the video and do it now.
Did you get your answers?
Take a look.
In the first sentence, you’ll probably need to change the structure a little by separating
‘in 1593’ from the main clause using a comma.
Now, you’ve seen several ways to form complex sentence structures in English.
What should you do if you want more practice?
First, you can use a grammar book or other resources to practise the topics you’ve
seen in this lesson.
Look for chapters and exercises on -ing participle clauses, -ed participle clauses, relative
clauses, and cleft sentences.
‘Cleft sentences’ are also called ‘focusing clauses’ in some books and materials.
Secondly, remember that the ideas in this lesson are not the only way to connect ideas
into complex sentences.
You should also learn how to use a range of conjunctions and linking phrases to build
sentences.
Finally, practise writing, and try to use some of these ideas in your writing.
Get good quality feedback to make sure that your writing is clear, well-organised and
accurate.
If you need help from a teacher, then our teachers can work with you to improve your
English writing.
You can take a discounted trial lesson on our website—look for the link under the
video, or visit Oxford Online English dot com and click ‘get started’!
That’s all.
Thanks for watching!
See you next time!
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Complex Sentences in English Writing - Learn How to Make Complex Sentences

108 Folder Collection
Courage published on March 27, 2020
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