Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
English grammar complex sentences for business English All Ears English

Have you ever wondered if your sentences are too simple in English?

Do you wish that you knew how to present like a native and use more complex and high-level grammar and sentences in English?

In the first part of our series, we are going to look at how to wow the crowd in your business English presentations.

We present this episode today with Aubrey who is the newest member of our team, and we are so happy to have her here!

She’ll be on AEE this spring for a series of grammar episodes, and we start with this today.

You guys have asked for more grammar episodes, so let’s get started here.

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Using Adverb Clauses To Take Things Up A Notch

This is the start of a series we’re going to do and to kick things off, we want to start with a joke for you.

‘The past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.’

There’s your little humor for the day talking about tenses—and today we’re going to take things up a level.

The goal of this episode is to help you make your sentences more interesting.

Think about presentations that you give at work, they tend to be pretty boring right?

You are going to learn how to be more complex, but in a good way!

This is an example of a complex sentence with an adverb clause connector, also called subordinating conjunctions.

We are going to explain how to use them so you can add interest and sophistication to conversations and presentations!

If you want to take your presentations and English up a level, this is a great way to start doing that.

You are going to learn how to make your presentations really shine, and you are going to learn the importance of adverb clauses.

Looking At Adverb Clauses

What are we talking about today?

We’re going to look at adverb clauses, because this is an aspect of English that will come up often.

Why does this matter for our listeners?

You will see adverb clauses in something like work presentations, and they will add color and interest to things.

Are you speaking in a simple way that is boring your colleagues? 

Keeping conversations surface level? 

By speaking in this way, is this making you feel like you aren’t included with your coworkers?

You’re going to learn how to change this and how to make your conversations more meaningful.

You’re going to learn how to make your presentations more interesting.

You’re going to see firsthand how just one aspect of English can make that big of a difference—and then you can start using this in your everyday life!

Using This To Speak Like Natives Do

It’s natural to speak in a rather simple and basic way when you are first learning a language.

As a matter of fact, we all do this when first learning a language and so you shouldn’t feel bad if that’s how you’ve been speaking up to this point.

Your natural inclination is to use simple, choppy sentences because we’re so focused on remembering vocabulary and using correct verb tenses properly.

However, natives don’t speak this way.

That’s important to remember as you advance in your English learning and speaking.

At your language level, you’re ready to use more complicated sentences that vary your speech rhythm and make you sound native and fluent.

This is a skill and one that you will feel confident in the more that you use it.

Imagine you’re presenting – this could be in a business meeting, at a conference, in a job interview, at a party talking to a group or just in conversation.

You know it sounds boring to use just simple sentences, and you want to change that and improve this skill.

Imagine yourself presenting in that situation using complex sentences and sounding much more sophisticated.

The impression you give will be completely different, and you will be amazed at how this takes your skill and your confidence up exponentially.

This is how you wow your listener!

You are going to learn how to do that and how to take good functional sentences to an entirely different place in your conversations.

How You Can Use This In Conversation

Let’s start by painting a picture of how this can work so to speak.

Picture yourself giving a presentation now, but you start to add more detail to it.

You take that presentation from one level of functional and slowly it starts to build up to a more advanced and truly interesting presentation.

Imagine yourself presenting and sounding more sophisticated and using more complex language.

That’s how powerful this can be and how just one aspect of English can make your presentations interesting, and have you speaking like a native.

Now that you have this vision or this picture painted in your mind, let’s start by defining what a complex sentence is.

Complex sentences are like independent clauses that you combine together into one.

Rather than having two dependent clauses stand alone, you are combining them for a more robust and interesting sentence.

Dependent people don’t stand alone, they want to join up with others.

Independent people can stand alone and function just fine.

So you are ultimately creating an independent sentence or thought when you combine simple sentences.

So you might be asking yourself how this will help you to give better presentations?

We’re going to look at examples of how when you combine sentences and make them more complex it really takes things up to a whole new level.

Examples of Complex Sentences

This is an area where seeing examples may really help you.

These examples can show you the difference between simple sentences and complex ones that really pop in conversation.

Let’s compare and contrast a simple vs. a complex example so you can see firsthand how this works.


“Our sales numbers are low. We can improve them by shifting our focus.”

If you were to hear these sentences in a presentation, you may feel that the speaker’s English level may be low.

It may come off as though the speaker is unimaginative and boring in the way that they speak.


“Although our sales numbers are low, we can improve them by shifting our focus.”

This is such a simple change, but so impactful!

Combining the two sentences and adding an adverb clause connector makes a huge difference.

Those hearing this sentence get the impression that the speaker’s language level is advanced, and that they are interesting!

This isn’t a change that takes a lot of effort, but it really takes your presentation and speaking up to another level.

It also takes your confidence up as you see that you can put together two thoughts to create a more cohesive and interesting sentence.

Making Connections

The reality is that combining two thoughts or sentences helps you to make important connections.

Take a simple sentence so you can break it down such as “After I ate, we left.”

There is a subject and verb in each clause that can be independent.

When you use the adverb clause connector/subordinating conjunction, this is something that joins two clauses.

You could use a great complex sentence in a presentation such as “Unless projected figures are off, we will not meet our sales goal this quarter.”

This is informative, interesting, and gets people’s attention which is the intention behind it.

When natives speak, they use a variety of simple, compound and complex sentences.

That’s the key is to mix it up and use a variety of different types of sentences.

You want to use interesting, sophisticated sentences every time you talk.

This works well in regular conversations, as well as when making presentations at work.

Why Do We Need Complex Sentences?

So why do we need complex sentences?

If you have too many simple sentences it comes off as choppy.

Whereas if you use more complex sentences with adverb clauses, it adds interest and rich detail because they explain how and why things happen.

They add description to the verb/adjective in the sentence.

They also help to vary the rhythm of your sentences and layers in vital information.

This adds interest any time you speak, but is especially useful for presentations at work.

It will engage and impress listeners, and therefore it takes your speaking up another level and builds your confidence as a speaker.

Look at this simple comparison to again see what this simple change can do for you in your presentations.

Simple sentences: “We are instituting a hand-washing policy. We want to avoid spreading germs.”

Complex: “We are instituting a hand-washing policy because we want to avoid spreading germs.”

Simple but effective changes can greatly impact the way that you speak overall.

How Do We Create Complex Sentences?

You are probably getting a feel for how this works now, and you probably see how complex sentences work.

You likely see the value of these sentences, and how powerful they can be.

So how do we create them?

What it comes down to is an adverb clause connector/subordinating conjunction.

There are many different types, and they can go at the beginning or end of a sentence.

Here are a few of these as examples so you can get a feel for how this works.

  • Comparison: You would use words such as rather than or whereas. This helps you to easily compare two different thoughts in one cohesive way.
  • Reason: You will use words such as because, since, and as. This gives you the actual reason behind what you are saying. It makes a very simple but effective connection.
  • Place: This talks to a location and would use words such as where or wherever. This gives you an identifiable place to point to in your complex sentence.
  • Time: This gives you a very precise measure of time. You would use words such as while, when, and after. This makes for a very natural complex sentence that makes perfect sense.

Seeing how you can use such sentences can be really helpful.

Think of these transition words and phrases to help you to understand how this can all come together.

Putting This All Together

Since you’re really starting to see how complex sentences work and how they pull everything together, we’re going to look at some working examples.

These three sentences follow everything discussed and are perfect examples of how you can sound more native.

Even when presenting something like numbers in a presentation, using adverb clause connectors can help to make you sound more interesting.

  • “While our sales numbers have been slow this week, they have experienced a steady incline all month.”
  • “When we are asked by clients about our projected growth, this is the data we want to share.”
  • “After we discuss the stock market losses, we will move on to the recovery timeline.”
  • “We will move onto the recovery timeline after we discuss the stock market losses.” (no comma necessary if the adverb clause connector is in the middle of the sentence)

All of these sentences can be rearranged to add diversity to the rhythm of your sentences.

This is a very focused aspect of English, and it will really help you to make your conversations and presentations more advanced.


Knowing these grammar points can assure your success at work and in life!

It will change the way your colleagues look at you, and it will help to boost your confidence overall.

What a shame if you have the best ideas in the room but you can only say it in simple ways that make people underestimate you!

You can then use complex sentences to network and connect with associates. 

This is an aspect of English that you may not think about initially, but it will become more important when you want to take things to the next level.

As you become more advanced, you will want to utilize things like this in your conversations–and now you can get started with this.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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