A sentence is complex when it's formed by a main clause and a clause that depends on it or a clause that is in some way connected to it.
It's possible to add to a main clause a coordinated clause, introduced by coordinating conjunctions, and/or a dependent clause, introduced by a subordinating conjunction.
Coordinated/Dependent clauses: (Main clause) + Conjunction + Second clause + (Main clause)
|Type of clause||Main clause||Second clause||English|
|L'insegnante parla||e gli alunni ascoltano.||The teacher talks and the pupils listen.|
|Io cucino||mentre tu riposi.||I cook while you rest.|
|Mentre Luigi andava a casa, il sole iniziava a tramontare.||While Luigi was going home, the sun was starting to set.|
|Io cucino e il gatto dorme.||I cook and the cat sleeps.|
|(Loro) Pensavano che lo sapessi, ma io non lo sapevo.||They thought I knew, but I didn't know.|
Relative clauses specify something about an element that has already been introduced.
In English, relative clauses are introduce by who, which, that.
In Italian we use the following pronouns:
|Masculine singular||Feminine singular||Masculine plural||Feminine plural||English|
|Che||Che||Che||Che||Who / which / that|
|Cui||Cui||Cui||Cui||Who /which / that (preceded by a preposition)|
|Il quale||La quale||I quali||Le quali||Who / which / that (formal/less used)|
There are two main structure options of relative clauses:
This type of clause includes an information which could be also easily omitted; the sentence would still make sense.
Relative clauses (omittable information): Subject + [Comma + Relative pronoun + Verb + Object + Comma] + Main verb + Rest of the sentence
|La vicina di casa, [la quale si è trasferita lo scorso anno], si chiama Paola.||The neighbor, who moved in last year, is called Paola.|
|Il primo figlio di Chiara, [il cui marito si chiama Leo], è appena nato.||Chiara's first son, whose husband's name is Leo, was born a while ago.|
|Giovanni, [che si è lasciato da poco con la ragazza], è molto triste.||Giovanni, who recenty broke up with his girlfriend, is very sad.|
This second structure includes a relative sentence that can't be omitted because it specifies a distinctive quality of the element it refers to.
Relative clauses (non-omittable quality): Subject + Relative pronoun + Verb + Other elements] + Main verb + Rest of the sentence
|La torta che era stata bruciata non è stata servita al matrimonio.||The cake that had been burnt wasn't served at the wedding.|
|La bicicletta che hai messo fuori è tutta bagnata.||The bycicle you put outside is all wet.|
|La stanza in cui dormi è al piano di sopra.||The room you sleep in is upstairs.|
Both these structure are usually placed close to the element they refer to.
Indirect questions are subordinate prepositions that introduce a doubt, a question.
Reported speeech is used to explain what somebody said.
They are usually introduced by the following words:
|Verbs||Chiedere (To ask), Pensare (Think), Credere (To believe)|
|Names||Domanda (Question), Dubbio (Doubt)|
|Adjectives||Curioso (Curious), Dubbioso (Doubtful)|
|Prepositions||Se (If), Come (How), Perchè (Why), Quando (When), Quanto (How much)|
|Interrogative adjectives and pronouns||Chi (Who), Il quale (Which/That), Che cosa/Cosa (What), Quanto (How much)|
Indirect questions/speech: Subject/(Personal pronoun) + Introductory element + Rest of the sentence
|Mi chiedo come sia possibile dormire 3 ore a notte.||I'm wondering how you could possibly sleep 3 hours per night.|
|Non si capisce cosa voglia fare.||You don't manage to understand what he will do.|
|Mario ha detto che è curioso di conoscere il risultato finale.||Mario said he was curious to know the final score.|
Infinitive phrases express an action using the infinitive mood.
Infinitive phrase: Main clause + Preposition/No connecting element + Verb on the infinitive mood (+ Rest of the sentence)
Let's analize the following examples.
|Mi ha dato il libro di matematica per studiare.||He gave the Maths book to study.|
|E' facile raggiungere la stazione.||It's easy to reach the railways station.|
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