Complex and compound sentences 

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Complex and compound sentences



A compound sentence consists of two or more coordinated clauses. The choice of the terminal tone depends on the degree of their semantic unity. If the non-final sense-group is semantically independent and doesn’t imply continuation, the falling tone is used.


e.g. It was getting dark, and I hurried home.


If the idea is not completed, the low rising tone or falling-rising tone can be used.


e.g. He nodded in agreement, but his eyes glittered with silent contempt.

A complex sentence consists of a principle and one or several subordinate clauses which may precede, follow or break the main clause.

a/ if the principle clause and the following subordinate clause present a single semantic whole, they do not form separate sense-groups.


e.g. You can stay here as long as you want.


b/ If the principle clause implies continuation, it is pronounced with the low-rising tone.


e.g. It doesn’t really matter to me what all of them think.


c/ if both clauses are semantically independent, they are pronounced with the Fall.


e.g. You can stay here if you really want to.


Subordinate clauses, preceding the principle one, form separate sense-groups. They are pronounced with the Low Rise to stress the logical connection with the following sense-group.


e.g. If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.


The falling tone is also possible, depending on the semantic value of the clause.




As a rule, complex, compound and simple extended sentences can be divided into some logical parts. While pronouncing them, the sequence of tones must be observed. The most common sequences in unemotional speech are Fall + fall and Rise + Fall.

The sequence Fall + Fall is used in sense-groups conveying finality; they sound definite, firm, weighty.


e.g. It’s the absolute truth, I swear.

The sequence Rise + Fall is used in sense-groups which are logically closely connected, or when the speaker is leading up to something more and continuation of some kind is implied.


e.g. If I were you, I’d wait and see what happens.

My parents and I, usually spend our holidays to gether.


1. She hates tea but adores coffee.

2. When the classes are over early, at about 11.30, Jane usually called on her friend and does some shopping.

3. I can’t come to your party tomorrow because I don’t feel quite well.

4. Everything is fine, she is happy.

5. Londinium flourished, and within a generation it had become the administrative center for the


6. When Brian saw his wife’s face, he was so shocked that he stopped speaking and stared at her in


7. Cathy didn’t cry but sat silently by his side.

8. The square, when they reached it, was full of wind and flying dust.

9. It was a perfect plan, and it would work.

10. People can now use wood substitutes, which are becoming more available.

Intonation Revision Exercise


1. Most evenings they dine out.

2. The garden looked white and quiet behind the glass doors of the gallery.

3. What’s on my shopping list? Oh yes, some chocolate, cigarettes and gin.

4. What’s the mater with you, Mr. Walker?

5. By the way, are you going anywhere over Easter?

6. I am not very good at languages, you know.

7. Henry VIII, the English king of the Tudor Dynasty, is known as the Blue Beard.

8. After the rain was over, a huge rainbow could be seen bright in the sky.

9. Sir, if that was your master, why was he wearing a mask over his face?

10. The thin trees were blowing wildly, and untidy grey clouds were sailing past a pale, sickly moon.

11. She must be very miserable, and very lonely, in that dark, unpleasant house.

12. Friends, I am here to ask you for support.

13. The others thought it would be worthwhile, anyway.

14. Well, Nora, I give in! Tell me the answer now.

15. Mum, isn’t that shirt too big for me?

16. Mr. Brooke, my tutor, doesn’t stay here, and I have no one to keep me company.

17. He could not stop looking at her, and I knew there was no hope for him.

18. The young man looked very pale and went straight to his room.

19. One night, when my life as Jekyll seemed impossibly dull and boring, I mixed a dose of the drug and drank it.

20. Her play is full of coincidences, false anticipations, and non-responsive dialogues.

21. I shall come back before midnight, and then we shall send for the police.

22. If I finish it, however, he will probably not notice it.

23. When the manager told me what the apartment cost, I decided living at home with Mom and Dad was not so bad.

24. He described skiing in the Alps, swimming I the Adriatic, and driving across the Sahara Desert.

25. Te film’s last seen showed that his battle had been for nothing, that he had lost her and his dream was dead.

26. There were no photographs of the wanted man and no two people could agree about his appearance.

27. “Don’t be long!” said Henry, with a not of warning in his voice.

28. Her cousin repeated the question, “Who told you that?”

29. “Have you ever heard him sing?” I asked Mr. Bartell.

30. ‘If nothing’s the matter,” Eddy said mildly, “why are you crying?”

31. These shoes are the best; they are durable, inexpensive, and stylish.

32. Don’t waste time, don’t waste money, but – most important of all – don’t waste your energies and talents.

33. At his greatest, Jean Renoir expresses the beauty of our common humanity – the desires and hopes, the absurdities and follies, that we all, to one degree or another, share.






Text 1

Listen and write in the missing words. Listen again and practise reading the story phrase by phrase, then read the whole of it aloud.


_________ first ___________ June_____________-two, _________ French burglar broke_________ house________ Paris.

_________ went _________ living_________ stole two pictures. Then ____________ went __________ kitchen. ________opened _________ saw _________. __________ ate ___________.Next, _________ two __________. __________ both ________. ________ felt

__________ rest___________ asleep. When __________ morning _________ around ______.



Text 2

Listen to the letter and mark the stressed words in it. Practise reading the letter phrase by phrase and then read the whole of it aloud.


Dear Mum and dad,

I’m really sorry, but I’m leaving home. When you read this, I’ll be far away. Don’t try to find me. Martin and I are getting married next Saturday.

I know you’ve never liked Martin. You didn’t want me to go out with him because you said he was just a car salesman and he wasn’t good enough for me. I know that you’ve always wanted the best for me, but Martin is the best for me. I love him very much indeed.



Text 3


Listen to the passage. Divide it into sense-groups, mark the stressed words and intonation in each sentence. Practise reading the whole passage aloud.


On the fourteenth of January nineteen seventy-eight, Mrs. Brewin was working in her garden. Her cat, Henry, was playing around her. It climbed a tress in the garden and couldn’t get down, so she called the Fire Brigade. While she was waiting for them to arrive, she offered some fish to try to get him down.


Text 4


Listen to the passage and write it down, paying attention to the correct punctuation.


. – full stop

, - comma

‘ - apostrophe

- - hyphen

: - colon


You will hear the same passage broken into short sections first and then in longer sentences. Listen and repeat each phrase/sentence with the correct intonation. After that, read the whole passage through.


Word list: drab


Text 5


Read the story through and put one of the words from the box into each gap. Listen and check your answers. Break the passage into sense-groups and mark the intonation. Practise reading the passage aloud.



to at about off to from at in in



My friend Susie met her husband in a strange way. She was traveling to Eastern Europe by train one summer. For some time she looked _____ the handsome young man sitting opposite her. Finally he smiled ________ her and said ‘Hello’. It was a long trip and they talked _______ a lot of different things. He came ________ Hamburg, and was very interested ______ politics and English. When he got _____ the train in Hamburg, Suzy felt a little sad because she didn’t even know his name. Then she noticed a book on the floor. It had an address, but no name _______ it. She didn’t know if it belonged ______ the handsome German man, but she decided to write _____ the address in the book. After a couple of weeks she got a reply. The following summer he visited her in England, and last year they got married.



Text 6



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