Complex sentences

What is a complex sentence?

Why would authors use complex sentences?


Last week we read the book ‘Fox’ by Margaret Wild. She uses complex sentences in her writing. Today we are going to have a look at one of them, and discuss its structure.

  • In the evening, when the air is creamy with blossom, Dog and Magpie relax at the mouth of the cave, enjoying each other’s company.

– Circumstance of time

– Circumstance of manner

– Participant, Process, Circumstance of place

– Process


Mr. Andrew made a complex sentence that models the same structure as Margaret Wild’s.

  • During the afternoon, when the sun was brightly shining down, we kayaked around the huge deserted lake, paddling effortlessly through the calm and glistening water.


Here are some ideas that students came up with last year.

  • During the windy, wet and cold afternoon, when the sun was hiding behind the grey and foggy clouds, dad, Brandy and I went yabby fishing in the muddy forest, keeping track of each stick around the muddy water.
  • In the glistening morning, when the sun was rising, I was running effortlessly through the bush, amazed to see a beautiful unicorn across the river, staring at me.
  • In the morning, when the air was cold, I struggled out of bed, trying to open my eyes.
  • In the cold morning, when it was frozen like the arctic, we had to rush to the Melbourne airport, panicking that we would miss our flight to sunny Queensland.


Have a go at coming up with your own complex sentence, and post it as a comment. Think about using a personal experience to help you.


Below are examples of how students have used complex sentences in their writing.

During the afternoon, as the sky turned dull and the wind got powerful, the savage tornado ripped up the threatened town of Moore. The terrified people flee the area screaming and hoping they will survive. All I can think of is the huge tornado destroying everything in its path like an out of control freight train. I am trying to keep my balance as the powerful gusts pound into me like a wild rhino chasing its prey. My eardrums feel like they’re about to explode from the deafening sound of debris being slammed together. The crack of the thunder and the roar of the tornado sounds like hundreds of exploding petrol tanks. I can taste the devastation of innocent families as they lose everything they have ever loved and everything they have ever lived for. I’m so shocked as I stand here wondering why I’m still here, as I try my best to stay calm. The hailstones slam into me. I stand there feeling guilty knowing I can’t help the poor people being killed, injured and losing their homes.

In the stormy, devastating and grey afternoon, when the grey clouds were gathering together to make a huge and unforgettable storm, the tornado rose and created a huge and massive destruction around the city of Moore. Everybody screamed and evacuated like a huge pack of wolves. My eyes are visualising a terrible twirling twister creating huge destruction around the large city. Debris is lying around the giant and dangerous twirl of the wind. Everybody is horribly starting to shockingly scream and at the same, people are frantically driving away to avoid the terrible twirl made of wind. Hailstones are stomping down on my head; meanwhile extremely big clumps of rain are falling onto the hard ground.

16 thoughts on “Complex sentences

  1. In the afternoon as the hot sun shines down from high above I run on to the scorching soccer ground waiting for the rest of the team to come. As I see my friends running up to me I say hi what took you so long. The game starts the crowd is cheering wildly as I kick a massive gaol from the long half of the pitch.

  2. Throughout the evening as the sun was delicately setting Chase and I practice our Roundhouse kick and bobbing, our boxing trainer recklessly roars at us to kick harder as we start our axeing kick.

  3. In the early morning, as the bright sun rose into the high sky, I slowly lifted myself off my luxurious mattress, trying desperately to open my tight eyes.

  4. During the gusty, pouring wet afternoon, as the bright sun hid behind the thick grey clouds, my mum, dad, annoying brother and I frantically bolted through the heavy hail and into the nice warm family car, heading for the lovely cinemas.

  5. In the warm afternoon, when the sun was brightly beating down, I quickly got up and put my basketball clothes on, preparing for basketball at 6:30.

  6. During the afternoon, when the bright hot sun shines down, we go out on the humongous football field, running through the banner with a lot of happy joy.

  7. During a normal and boring day at Alcatraz prison, where the ugly and smelly prisoners fill the fresh air with a horrible stench, I wake up on my cold, solid concrete bed, wishing for some air freshener.

  8. In the dell afternoon when the shiny sun goes down and when the birds went to bed, after school we went to Melbourne to see the confident, swans win the grand final they run around the oval frantically.

  9. In the hot afternoon, when the crowd awaits nervously, Lakers enter the arena, preparing to play the magnificent Miami Heat.

  10. In the gorgeous early morning, when the beautiful sun starts to come out and the pretty flowers start to shine, I woke up in my warm cosy bed, wondering what I am going to do today, I got out of my big comfy bed to go get some delicious maple syrup pancakes.

  11. During the glistening beautiful morning, just after the frosted started to disappear I was getting ready to play the semi-finals with Real Madrid, hoping that we would win.

  12. On a cold foggy morning, when the sun was hidden, I was getting ready to play some netball, hoping that we would smash them.

  13. During the shiny frost fogy morning, when the bright colourful yellow massive sun rise up, my fantastic team and I are ready to play the ecstatic huge netball final, waiting to win.

  14. On a cold frosty morning my team were getting ready for soccer game it was the grand finale, we were thinking that smash the other team.

  15. During the cold rainy afternoon, there were 56 football players on the field in the MCG. I was second row watching this really close game. It was the whole Essendon supporters, barracking for them. Collingwood got the ball and kicked it for goal but it missed it was in the square.

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