Compound Sentence: An In-Depth Guide

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Do you want to know about compound sentences? Then, following the post would give you a proper understanding of this sentence type. For instance, you would get to know about the rules and the creation methods of compound sentences by connecting two or above independent clauses in one sentence. 

In short, compound sentences vary from other types of sentences like simple sentence. However, missing to add the coordinating conjunction (joining element) would convert the sentence into a run-on sentence. Let us proceed to the discussion now. 

Introduction to Compound Sentences

A compound sentence must comprise of a minimum of two independent clauses. A comma (,), coordinating conjunction, or semicolon (;) needs to be present between the two independent clauses. An independent clause must be present with a subject as well as a verb. That means it must convey a complete idea. 

Coordinating conjunctions (known as coordinators as well) are an integral part of the concept of the compound sentence. They are used to join two or more independent clauses, sentences, or words. Moreover, they only coordinate two or above elements with similar syntactic importance. Memorizing all coordinators can be tricky, so you can just memorize “FANBOYS” to remember them all.

F- For

A- And

N- Nor

B- But

O- Or

Y- Yet

S- So 

With a comma, semicolon, or coordinator, a compound sentence becomes a run-on sentence, where independent clauses are joined incorrectly together. 

Let’s take an example:

Meena likes to write poems she does not prefer writing novels. 

Here, the two independent clauses (“Meena likes to write poems” and “she does not prefer writing novels”) are joined improperly. 

However, you can make it a compound sentence by adding a coordinator “but” along with a comma. 

Meena likes to write poems, but she does not prefer writing novels.

What is the coordinator here to join the two independent clauses? 

“But”

The coordinator displays a clear connection between the independent clauses. Here, it is about the preference of the subject (“Meena”). Without “but,” the relationship between the two independent clauses won’t be clear. It would also affect the meaning of the sentence:

Meena likes to write poems. She does not prefer writing novels.

Instead of a coordinator, a semicolon (;) can also be used to connect independent clauses. A semicolon appears as a combination of a colon as well as a comma. In case of joining clauses using a semicolon (;) gives the sentence a sudden pause. It offers a different type of effect. Check the following sentence: 

Meena likes to write poems; she does not prefer writing novels.

However, using the coordinating conjunction (“but”) can soften the effect of the second independent clause of the sentence. 

Meena likes to write poems, but she does not prefer writing novels.

How to Form Compound Sentences?

You can join two or more independent clauses of a compound sentence by one of the methods below:

  1. Using A Semicolon:

Nikita prefers cappuccino; Nidhi prefers latte. 

  1. Using A Coordinating Conjunction with A Comma:

Nikita prefers cappuccino, but Nidhi prefers latte. 

  1. Using A Colon:

She knows one thing: she wants to succeed in life. 

It is rather a rare scenario, as the sentence after the colon is often a dependent clause. 

  1. Using A Dash:

I know what your name is – It is written on your bag. 

Compound Sentences & Conjunctive Adverbs

It is also possible to connect independent clauses with conjunctive adverbs, such as “at least,” “however,” “moreover,” etc. However, these conjunctive adverbs must have a semicolon (;) before them and a comma (,) after them in compound sentences.

For example:

They are planning a surprise party for Meena; however, the budget is low. 

The story is magical; in fact, it is hardly believable. 

Wrapping Up

Compound sentences are quite simple to identify. Just remember, a compound sentence would have two or more independent clauses along with a joining element.

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