Simple, Complex, Compound Sentences

Interchange of Simple and Complex Sentences 

Changing Simple into Complex

A complex sentence has one main clause and one or more subordinate clause. Simple sentences can be converted to complex ones by expanding words or phrases into subordinate clauses. A few examples are given here.

(a) Noun Clause     

Simple: I know his name.
Complex: I know what his name is.

Simple: He came at 5 p.m.
Complex: It was 5 p.m. when he came. 

Simple: I am sure of passing.
Complex: I am sure that I shall pass.

Simple: His silence proves his guilt.
Complex: His silence proves that he is guilty. 
or, The fact that he is silent proves his guilt.

Simple: You may criticise my action.
Complex: You may criticise what I do.

Simple: He hoped to win the prize.
Complex: He hoped that he would win the prize.

(b) Adjective Clause

Simple: Our present house suits us.
Complex: The house in which we live at present suits us.

Simple: He is a rich man.
Complex: He is a man who is rich.

Simple: I had exactly sixty pounds in the bank. 
Complex: Sixty pounds was the exact amount I had in the bank.
Or, The amount I had in the bank was exactly sixty pounds.

Simple: I have no money to spare.
Complex: I have no money that I can spare.

(c) Adverb Clause

Simple: He is too weak to walk. 
Complex: He is so weak that he cannot walk.

Simple: In spite of his poverty. he is happy.
Complex: Though he is poor, he is happy. 

Simple: They will pay only under compulsion.
Complex: The will never pay unless they are compelled.

Simple: Only students are allowed here. 
Complex: You can be allowed here only if you are a student.

Simple: During my stay there I was quite well. 
Complex: I was quite well so long as I stayed there.


Convert the following Simple sentences to Complex ones, each containing a Noun clause.

1. I do not know the name of this place.

2. He told me the truth.

3. I wish you every success. 

4. He admitted his mistake.

5. Can you tell me the time?

6. He seems to be angry.

7. I want to go home.

8 I know the manner of doing it. 

9. We hope for an early shower.

10. The report of his illness is true. 

11. He has got his dues.

12. I owe my success to him.


Convert the following Simple sentences to Complex ones, each containing an Adjective Clause.

1. This is his birth-place. 

2. A brave boy will not fear

3. He did not get my letter.

4. He was not a boy to be afraid of hard work.

5. This is my house. 

6. He is a man of his word. 

7. He did not hesitate to oppose me.

8. He has none to help him. 

9. He was the first boy to do it.

10. I am in need of a good house.


Convert the following Simple sentences to Complex ones, each containing an Adverb clause.

1. I could not come on account of my illness.

2. He left after my departure.

3. He talks wisely

4. I am too weak to walk.

5. On coming home I learnt the truth. 

6. Wait here till my return

7. You are too lazy to shine in life.

8. I would have failed without your help.

9. Having done the work he left for home.

10. I shall be glad to see you succeed. 

11. In his absence I took charge of the whole thing.

12. He came just at 5.


Convert the following sentences to Complex ones, in any of the ways shown above.

1. I am sorry to hear of your failure.

2. I have seen the field of battle.

3. He is a man belonging to a noble family. 

4. Nobody knows his father's name.

5. We are glad a his acquittal. 

6. He is believed to be honest.

7. The problem was too difficult to be solved. 

8. He could not attend school on account of illness. 

9. I have heard of his illness.

10. Tell me the time and a place of your birth.

11. We know the name of the writer of that letter

12. Their explanation cannot be true.

13. He is not a man to tell a lie. In the absence of the cat the mice play.

14. The case being hopeless, we must change our plans.

15. I shall be glad to help him in any way.

16. He works hard to gain a prize.

17. He is confident of success.

18. We must hope for better times. 

19. He left at night to escape being seen by anyone.


On your paper, write the subordinate clause that appears in each sentence of the passage below. Then indicate whether the subordinate clause is (a) an adverb clause (b) an adjective clause, or (c) a noun clause.

Baseball's spectacular defensive plays occur when players catch balls seemingly out of reach. An outfielder may leap and catch a fly ball that looks like a sure home run. Another time an infielder may dive to the ground to snag a ball that everyone expects to be a base hit. Whoever loves baseball is thrilled to watch a sprinting outfielder run down a fly ball four hundred feet from the home plate. On the other hand, what looks like a ordinary play sometimes turns truly ridiculous. One afternoon in 1948 when a Boston Red Sox batter hit a ground ball towards Eddie Joost of the Philadelphia Athletics. the ball hit Joost's glove. rolled up his arm and disappeared into his sleeve. The bewildered shortstop frantically searched everywhere before he found the ball in his shirt. As Joost pulled his shirttail out of his pants, the stubborn ball 'dropped to the ground and rolled away from him. Ted Williams, who was the runner on the third base and could have scored easily, was laughing too hard to run. Fans might well wonder where in all of baseball history they could find a more ludicrous play.

Changing Complex into Simple

(a) Noun Clause

Complex: I know what his intention is.
Simple: I know his intention.

Complex: We believe what he says.
Simple: We believe his word (or, him).

Complex: He wants that I should go.
Simple: He wants me to go.

Complex: That he is honest is known to all.
Simple: His honesty is known to all.

Complex: I know where he was born. 
Simple: I know his birth-place (or, the place of his birth). 

Complex: It seemed impossible that he could escape.
Simple: It seemed impossible for him to escape. Or. His escape seemed impossible.

Complex: Tell me where he lives.
Simple: Tell me his address.

Complex: I admit that he is a great poet.
Simple: I admit his greatness as a poet. Or, I admit him to be a great poet.

Complex: The truth is he was absent. 
Simple: To speak the truth, he was absent.

(b) Adjective Clause

Complex: He was the last man who went there.
Simple: He was the last man to go there. 

Complex: They soon forgot the labours they had endured.
Simple: They soon forgot their past labours.

Complex: Only those boys who will work hard will succeed.
Simple: Only hard working boys will succeed.

Complex: He was guilty of rudeness that could not be tolerated.
Simple: He was guilty of intolerable rudeness.

(c) Adverb Clause

Complex: As soon as he went there, he got the news.
Simple: He got the news immediately after going there.

Complex: He is so weak that he cannot walk.
Simple: He is too weak to walk.

Complex: He was glad when he heard this.
Simple: He was glad to hear this.

Complex: As I am ill, I cannot go to school. 
Simple: I cannot go to school on account of my illness.

Complex: He left after I had come. 
Simple: He left after my arrival.

Complex: Though he is ill, he will come. 
Simple: In spite of his illness he will come.

Complex: You may talk as much as you like. 
Simple: You may talk to your heart's content.

Complex: He will not go unless he is compelled.
Simple: He will go only under compulsion.


Convert the following Complex sentences to Simple ones, by changing the Noun clauses.

1. I do not know where he was born. 

2. He told me what his name was.

3. He reported that the man had died.

4. He confessed that he had committed the crime.

5. Can you make out what he says?

6. I pray that he may be successful in life.

7. I believe that he is innocent.

8. It is reported that he has stood first in the examination.


Convert the following Complex sentences to Simple ones, by changing the Adjective clauses.

1. Have you forgotten the help that I gave you?

2. He did not get the letter that I wrote to him.

3. Only those boys who are industrious can shine in

4. We must love those who live near us.

5. This is the place where he was born.

6. I have nothing that I can do. 

7. The power which money gives is great.

8. He has no friend to whom he can go.


Convert the following Complex sentences to Simple ones, by changing the Adverb clauses.

1. He acted as a wise man does.

2. I would have died if you had not helped me.

3. As he was ill, he did not attend school that day. 

4. You can never succeed unless you work bard.

5.  He came after I had left the meeting 

6. Though he is poor, he is honest.

7 He was so excited that he could not speak.

8. When my father died, I was left helpless.


Convert the following Complex sentences to Simple ones.

1. I am so tired that I cannot walk.

2. He desired that I should go there. 

3. I wished that you should go to school.

4. That he will fail is certain.

5. He received orders that he should start at once.

6. When he entered the room, he found it empty.

7. It is not known when he will arrive.

8. What he spoke on that occasion was unworthy of him. 

9. A pupil who works hard may win a prize.

10. That is the place where he was buried.

11. I told him that he should be brief.

12. It so happened that I was present there.

13. As the judge has already decided the case, further defence is

14. The opinion have formed of me is unjust.

15. It is generally believed that he died by poison.

16. The explanation they offered cannot be true.

Interchange of Simple, Complex and Compound Sentences 

1. Changing Simple sentences to Compound

Simple: Coming home, he began to work. Compound: He came home and began to work.

Simple: In spite of his wealth, he is unhappy.
Compound: He is wealthy, but (or yet) he is unhappy.

Simple: He ran away to escape arrest.
Compound: He ran away and thus escaped arrest. 

Simple: He is both tall and strong. 
Compound: He is not only tall but also strong.

Simple: Besides caning the boy, he also fined him. 
Compound: He not only caned the boy but also fined him

Simple: You must work hard to succeed.
Compound: You must work hard, or you will fail. 

Simple: He could not come on account of illness.
Compound: He was ill, and so he could not come.


Convert the following Simple sentences to Compound ones.

1. In spite of his poverty, he was happy.

2. He was punished for disobeying his superior.

3. He has not paid off the money on account of poverty. 

4. He gave me both praise and blame.

5. You must confess your fault to escape punishment.

6. Owing to poverty, he could not continue his studies. 

7.Having done his work, he left the place.

8. But for your help, I would have been ruined.

9. He saved himself by remaining absent.

10. He was respected by all for his honesty.

11. Every body deserted me but you.

12. He is clever enough to accept the offer.

13. He sat in his seat gazing at the sky. 

14. In spite of this heavy shower he will come. 

2. Changing Compound Sentences to Complex and Simple ones.

Compound:  He was poor, but he was honest.
Complex: Though he was poor, he was honest. 
Simple:  In spite of his poverty, he was honest.

Compound:  Go there, or you will be fined.
Complex: Unless you go there (or, If you do not go there) you will be fined. 
Simple: You must go there to escape being fined (or, to escape a fine.) 

Compound:  Speak the truth, and I shall pardon you.
Complex: If you speak the truth I shall pardon you. 
Simple: In the event of your speaking the truth, I shall pardon you.

Compound:  He was ill; therefore, he could not come. 
Complex: He could not come because he was ill.
Simple: He could not come because of (or, on account of) his illness.

Compound:  I called him, but he did not answer.
Complex: Though (or, When) I called him, he did not answer.
Simple: He did not answer to my call.

Compound:  He not only made a promise but kept it. 
Complex: He kept the promise he had made.
Simple: He kept his promise.

Compound:  I did this and so offended him.
Complex: I offended him because I did this.
Simple: I offended him by doing this.

Compound:  He must return the goods or pay the bill.
Complex: If he does not return the goods, he must pay the bill. 
Simple: In case of his failure to return the goods, he must pay the bill.

Compound:  He wanted to see you, and so he came home.
Complex: He came home in order that he might see you. 
Simple: He came home to see you.


Convert the following sentences to Complex and Simple ones.

1. They are defeated but not disgraced.

2. He came suddenly upon me, and so I was caught.

3. Hold your tongue, or you will repent it.

4. The bank failed, and he became poor.

5. He was diligent; therefore, he succeeded.

6. He made several efforts: yet he failed. 

7. He confessed his fault, or he would have been punished.

8. You helped me otherwise, I would have been ruined. 

9. I was ill last year, so I could not do well in the examination

10. He was very rich, yet he was greedy for more.

11. Speak or I fire.

12. Conquer your desires, or they will conquer you. 

13. He was not sincere, for he'd not really do anything.

14. There was fog, yet the steamer arrived in time.

15. He has a stout physique, but he is wanting in courage.

3. Changing Complex sentences to Compound.

Complex: He is honest though he is poor.
Compound: He is poor, but (or, yet) he is honest. 

Complex: Unless you do it I shall fine you.
Compound: Do it, or I shall fine you.

Complex: As he was ill. he could not go.
Compound: He was ill; therefore he could not go. 

Complex: The enemy fled as soon as they saw us.
Compound: The enemy saw us and fled at once. 

Complex: If you do not work you will fail.
Compound: Work or you will fail. 

Complex: I have found the book I lost.
Compound: I lost a book, but I have found it. 

Complex: I am sure you are wrong.
Compound: You are wrong, and of this I am sure. 

Complex: I am glad that you have come.
Compound: You have come, and I am glad of it.


Convert the following Complex sentences to Compound ones.

1. If you try, you will receed. 

2. Unless you speak, I shall fire.

3. Though he is rich, he is miserly.

4. If you hear me, you will be surprised.

5. You cannot do this unless I give you the permission.

6. Unless you speak the truth, you will be fined.

7 He left home yesterday as soon as he heard the news. 

8. If he buys the house, he will run into debt.

9. As you desire me to start, I am ready to do so. 

10. As I am sure to fail I shall not try


Change the following sentences to Simple ones.

1. The ground was never still for a moment, but Frank managed to sleep a little

2. Food for a long time was repulsive; we had to struggle to swallow anything 

3. Things of this kind are termed natural objects, and to the whole of them we give the name of Nature. 

4. Newton never permitted his mind to rest until he had discovered all the laws by which the planets are guided through the sky.

5. Though I liked the place, I had to resign my post there. My mother desired that I should be by her side.


1. In spite of the ground being never still for a moment, Frank managed to sleep a little. 

2. Food being for a long time repulsive, we had to struggle to swallow anything. Or, Food for a long time was too repulsive for us to swallow anything without a struggle.

3. We give the name of Nature to the whole of the things of this kind, termed, natural objects.

4. Newton never permitted his mind to rest before discovering all the laws guiding the planets through the sky. 

5. In spite of my liking for the place, I had to resign my post there because of my mother's desire to have me by her side.

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