Transformation of Sentence – Simple, Complex & Compound

Transformation of sentences is a common part of English language test in any school-level examination like ICSE and ISC. We would start this series on transformation of sentence with learning how to transform a simple sentence into complex, a complex sentence into compound and so on. For that we first need to learn how simple, complex and compound sentences are constructed. Let’s begin.

  • Sentences are of three kinds according to their structure – Simple, Complex and Compound.
  • A simple sentence has only one main clause.
  • A complex sentence has one main clause and one or more sub-ordinate clause dependent on that main clause.
  • A compound sentence has at least two main or independent clauses (called co-ordinate clauses) and may or may not have sub-ordinate clause.
Comparison Table
Sentence Main/Independent Clause Sub-ordinate/ Dependent Clause
Simple Only One None
Complex Only One One or more
Compound Two or more Does not matter

Let’s have an example. Main clauses are in red and sub clauses are in green.

  1. Simple: Despite his illness, Rohit attended the class.
  2. Complex: Though Rohit was ill, he attended the class.
  3. Compound: Rohit was ill, but he attended the class.
  • Despite his illness” is not a clause as it has no finite verb. It is a phrase.
  • “Though” is a sub-ordinate conjunction. A sub-ordinate conjunction connects a sub-clause to the main clause. A sub-ordinate clause begins with a sub-ordinate conjunction.
  • “But” is a co-ordinate conjunction. A co-ordinate conjunction connects two or more similar clauses, but it not being part of clauses, remains independent.
  • So, whenever you need to make a complex sentence use a sub-ordinate conjunction and to make a compound sentence use a co-ordinate conjunction. Given below are the lists of commonly used conjunctions (linkers).

Linkers to make Complex Sentence (Sub-ordinate Conjunctions):

That: We know that he is a good student.
Though: Though he worked hard, he failed to get a position.
Although: Although it was hard, he did it.
As (manner): Do as you like.
As (reason) As she worked hard, she got the reward.
As (after adjective, means ‘though’): Poor as he is, he is honest.
Because: He cannot join us because he is busy.
Since (reason): Since it’s raining, we cannot go out.
When: I was there when he came.
Where: This is the place where I met him.
Before: The train had left before we reached the station.
After: He came after I had left the place.
While: Make hay while the sun shines.
Till: Wait till 4 pm.
Until: Do not go out until I return.
If: If you work hard, you’ll reap the benefit.
Unless: Unless you help us, the project would fail.
Lest: The man tried to walk faster, lest he be left behind.
If / Whether: She wanted to know whether (if) I was ready to accompany her.
So that: Keep the door open so that anyone can come.
In order that: He worked hard in order that he could pass the test.
So … that: This poem is so easy that it needs no explanation.
As … as: Subir is as strong as Prabir.
So … as: Subir is not so strong as Rohit.
As soon as: As soon as I saw the snake, I started screaming.
No sooner … than: No sooner did I see the snake than I started screaming.
Hardly … when: Hardly had we left the house when it started raining.
The more … the more: The more he gets, the more he wants.

Linkers to make Compound Sentence (Co-ordinate Conjunctions):

And: He played well and got a prize.
But: She is sad but hopeful.
Or: Work hard or you will fail.
And so: He tried hard and so he won the game.
Yet: Life is full of tears, yet none wishes to die.
Still: He worked hard, still he failed.
Otherwise: Be attentive, otherwise you’ll miss the idea.
While: He failed while his brother passed.
Whereas: He is rich whereas his brother is poor.
Both … and: Both Rahul and his brother are intelligent.
As well as: Rina as well as his brother is honest.
Either … or: He is either a teacher or a doctor.
Neither … nor: He is neither a teacher nor a doctor.
Not only … but also: He is not only a teacher but also an author.

Now, that you have learnt the linkers to make complex and compound sentences, we will now concentrate on simple sentence.

Elements to make Simple Sentences:

  • Present Participle (Verb + ing):
    • Opening the drawer, he took out the packet.
    • Having our dinner, we went to bed.
  • Past Participle (Verb3):
    • We were enjoying the song sung by the bauls.
    • A book written by Ratanlal won the national award.
  • Perfect Participle (having/being + Verb3):
    • Being punished by the principal, the boy left the school.
    • Having finished my task, I went to sleep.
  • Infinitive (To + Verb):
    • He is not afraid to speak the truth.
    • He had been working hard to score big in the final.
  • Gerund (V+ing as a noun) / Preposition + Gerund:
    • On hearing a noise, he woke up.
    • Seeing is believing.
  • Preposition + Noun (or noun phrase):
    • In spite of his illness, he attended the class.
    • I couldn’t attend the class for my illness.
    • Besides getting him a job, they also built a house for him.
  • Absolute Phrase (Noun + Participle):
    • The sun having risen, the fox disappeared.
    • The match being abandoned, we left the field disheartened.
  • Phrase in Apposition (two noun phrases side by side referring to the same person or thing):
    • Tom, my faithful dog, always accompanies me.
    • Rimi, my sister, likes ice-cream.

So, now that you know how simple, complex and compound sentences are constructed, you can join two different sentences into a single simple, complex or compound sentence, and also can transform a simple sentence into complex, a compound sentence into simple and so on.

Written by , Last updated on January 4, 2023