Although you may be here wondering what compound sentences are, I’m pretty sure you have used them before albeit, unknowingly. So, if you’re looking to find more information, or perhaps searching for some compound sentence examples, well, you’ve come to the right place! It may sound a bit intimidating. You may be thinking “wow, I just learned how to form English sentences, and now, I have to learn how to combine them too?” Yes, you do. It’s an essential part of learning English. However, trust me on this one, they are not that complicated to learn. In fact, I believe that you will have an entirely better underestimating of compound sentences upon reading this post.
To begin, what does a sentence include?
Ok, so that makes sense. In order to form compound sentences, we must first know what a simple sentence is and what it includes, right? Of course! So, here is the rundown. A complete sentence must have the following:
- Must begin with a capital letter
- Must end with a punctuation mark
- Must include at least one main clause ( a main clause is an independent subject and verb to express a complete thought, also called an independent clause.)
So, what is a compound sentence?
Remember that independent clause I just mentioned? Well, in short, a sentence is an independent clause, and a compound sentence is a sentence with no less than two independent clauses. However, there can be more than two independent clauses in a sentence, and they can also entail one or two dependent clauses as well; although, sentences like that are called compound-complex sentences.
So, now that we know what a compound sentence is, I bet you’re wondering what an example of a compound sentence may look like. Well, fear not! I am here to give you examples too!
- I like ice cream. Jose likes cake. —> I like ice cream, and Jose likes cake.
- I went to work. My husband stayed home with the kids. —> I went to work, but my husband stayed home with the kids.
Joining compound sentences: rules
You now have the compound sentence definition and examples, what more could you possibly need to know, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, but it is not that difficult either, so bare with me here. There is just a little bit more that I need to elaborate on in order for you to be able to create a compound sentence in the right way.
With coordinating conjunctions
We use coordinating conjunctions to create compound sentences quite often. In fact, I would say that this is the most common way to create a compound sentence. What’s a coordinating conjunction you ask? It is a conjunction that is placed between words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. There are seven coordination conjunctions: (FANBOYS) for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. Ok, so how can you make a compound sentence with coordinating conjunctions? Easy! You just combine your two independent clauses with a comma and then the most fitting coordination conjunction, and viola, you have a compound sentence!
- F- for I put on my snow boots, for it was snowing outside. * For, when used as a coordination conjunction, means the same as the word because. However, because, when used as a coordinating conjunction, does not need a comma beforehand.
- A-and I was tired, and I felt sick to my stomach.
- N- nor He doesn’t eat meat, nor does he drink alcohol.
- B- but I wanted to visit the Philippines last year, but then the pandemic happened.
- O- or You can have a cookie for free, or you can buy that piece of candy.
- Y-yet I have never visited Egypt, yet I heard it is beautiful.
- S- so I need to go to work, so can you please watch the kids for me?
With conjunctive adverbs
A conjunctive adverb, otherwise known as an adverbial conjunction or subordinating adverb, is an adverb that connects two clauses by turning the clause it introduces into an adverbial modifier of the verb that is in the main clause. It should also always be used with a semicolon. Popular conjunctive adverbs are words such as however, moreover, finally, otherwise, therefore, and nevertheless. Whew, that sounds confusing, I know, I’m sorry. Sometimes, however, learning through examples is best, so here we go.
- I saw a black cat this morning; however, I do believe the cat was lost.
- I need to go for a walk;also, I need to begin eating healthy again.
- I’m not a big fan of seafood; moreover, it smells terrible.
With a semicolon
The above mention conjunctive adverbs rely on having a semicolon and a comma to make their compound sentence correct. However, you can still create a compound sentence with a semicolon without a conjunctive adverb. Simply combine two complete sentences into one by inserting a semicolon in between. Take note, however, the two sentences must be somehow related in order to use the semicolon to compound them. You cannot combine just any two random sentences.
- My dad loves fishing; he fishes every Sunday.
- I baked Santa’s cookies; my children decorated the cookies for Santa.
- My math is not that great; ; I like English and History.
All in all, understanding how to use compound sentences, in the correct way, is not all that hard, right? Once you understand what a sentence actually is, and the difference between a simple and compound sentence, it’s easy sailing from there. When dealing with coordinating conjunctions, remember the anagram, FANBOYS. When using conjunctive adverbs, remember that they go hand in hand with a semicolon and a comma. Then finally, when you use only a semicolon to make a compound sentence, remember that the two independent clauses must correlate in some way. Now, there you have it! You now know how to write a compound sentence. Congratulations! You’re one step further towards your English goals.