Is this a complex or compound complex sentence?"I leant against a pillar of the verandah, drew my grey mantle close about me, and, trying to forget the cold which nipped me without, and the...

Is this a complex or compound complex sentence?

"I leant against a pillar of the verandah, drew my grey mantle close about me, and, trying to forget the cold which nipped me without, and the unsatisfied hunger which gnawed me within, delivered myself up to the employment of watching and thinking."

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I hate to disagree with the above poster, but this is a complex sentence, not a compound one, or even a "compund" one.

There is only one independent clause "I leant..."  A compound sentence needs two independent clauses.  A complex sentence, which it is, needs one independent and at least one dependent clause.  The sentence is a series of predicates, all of which use "I" as the subject.  In other words, there is no compound subject, only "I."

Here's the basic sentence without all the interrupters:

"I leant, drew, and delivered."

The first "and" coordinates the verbs that are in the series.  The second "and" is embedded in the dependent clause that begins with "trying..."  So, as it is a dependent clause, it is not obligatory (it can be taken out).  So, that whole clause beginning with "trying" and ending with "within" is not obligatory.  It's an interrupter and, therefore, can be removed.

So, this sentence has compound predicates, but it is only has one subject; therefore, it is a complex sentence only.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Great question! Remember the definition of a compund sentence is a sentence that contains to independent clauses joined by a coordinator (a word such as for, and, nor, yet, etc). A complex sentence has an independent clause which is linked or joined by one or more dependent clauses. You can identify complex sentences because they always have a subordinator such as because, after, although etc or a relative pronoun such as that, who and which. So examining the sentence you have quoted, it is clearly a compound complex sentence, because it has the compund "and" whilst also has an independent clause with other dependent clauses.
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Jane Eyre

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