Compound and Complex Latvian Sentences

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences (salikti sakārtoti teikumi) are pretty straightforward: a compound sentence is made up of two or more main clauses (but no subordinate clauses). The clauses are usually joined by a co-ordinating conjunction. Here are a few examples of some compound sentences in Latvian. In each of the following examples, the conjoined main clauses are shown in dark green, and the conjunction is blue:
  1. Marta nobučoja Oskaru, bet Linda Raimondam iepliķēja . 'Martha kissed Oscar, but Linda smacked/slapped Raymond'.
  2. Roberts tur nebija, nedz arī grib tur iet. 'Robert wasn't there, nor does he want to go there'.
  3. Ziloņi dzer no dīķa, lauvas guļ ēnā, un mērkaķi sēž koka galotnē. '(The) elephants are drinking from (a) pond, (the) lions are lying (in the) shade, and (the) monkeys are sitting (in the) top (of a) tree'.
To create a compound sentence with multiple clauses is quite easy: just string one main clause after another (e.g. the three main clauses in sentence (3) above).

Complex Sentences

Complex sentences (salikti pakārtoti teikumi) consist of a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses. The subordinate clauses are often introduced by a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun. Here are a few examples of some complex sentences in Latvian; the main clauses are dark red, the subordinate clauses are dark blue, and the subordinating conjunctions or relative pronouns (if any) are underlined:
  1. Es nezinu, vai Jāzeps nāks. 'I don't know whether Joseph will come.'
  2. Dod Ritai greipfrūtu, lai viņa veseļojas. 'Give Rita grapefruit, so that her health improves!'
  3. Māja, kuru Oskars nopirka, ir diezgan maza. '(The) house which Oscar bought is rather small.'
  4. Andrejs aizsūtija vēstuli Martai , kas Robertam nemaz nepatika. 'Andrew sent Martha (a) letter, which Robert did not like at all.'
  5. Ņemties ar čūskām nav viegli. 'To mess about with snakes is not easy.' (Literally: 'To occupy (oneself) with snakes isn't easy.')
Here is a somewhat more complicated example; the following sentence has one main clause and two conjoined (i.e. compounded) subordinate clauses; each subordinate clause is enclosed within [square brackets]: To create a complex sentence with multiple clauses may require that some subordinate clauses be embedded within other subordinate clauses. Take a look at the following example sentence; each subordinate clause is enclosed within [square brackets]:

Compound-Complex Sentences

Compound-complex sentences are those which have more than one main clause, and also contain one or more subordinate clauses. Here we have a main clause with a subordinate clause, and then another main clause:

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This page created and maintained by
A. Steinbergs

Last revised September 17, 2008