Compound Sentence — Usage and Examples

Anyone trying to learn the English language knows how difficult it can be to write proper sentences. While it’s always good to stay on the safe side by composing simple sentences, there’s no denying how compound sentences tend to be more interesting and engaging to the average reader. It can turn a simple narrative into something rich and colorful. But forming compound sentences can be quite tricky, so it’s important for one to be familiar with the basic components of a compound sentence as well as the proper way to connect clauses.

What is a Compound Sentence?

A compound sentence is typically composed of at least two independent clauses that are linked by a comma (,), a semicolon (;), a dash () or a conjunction. These independent clauses refer to a type of clause that consists of a subject and a verb and conveys a complete thought. Think of it as a set of twins who are each their own person, yet stay connected by the same biological component. A compound sentence may be about one subject that discusses two different things, two different subjects that are doing the same thing or two different subjects doing two different things.

Example: 

  • I fell out of my bed, so my roommate came to check on me.

Based on the example above, two ideas that share a common relationship with each other are linked together with the help of a conjunction. However, take note that the linking word affects the relationship of the given ideas. For instance, using “and” would mean the second clause contains the same type of idea as the first, while “but” would be the equivalent to its opposite idea. But coordinating conjunctions do more than just join independent clauses together, as they also add a smooth flow to your writing. This shows the relationship between the two clauses, making it easier for the reader to understand the overall message.

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Listed below are the seven coordinators existing in the English language:

  • And – I drove to the park, and then I walked all the way to the church.
  • But – He eats ice cream, but he won’t drink milk.
  • Nor – He didn’t buy the game, nor did he have enough money for it.
  • For – Jake couldn’t go home, for he had no place to go.
  • Or – She packed lunch, or she went to a restaurant.
  • Yet – She owns a car, yet her parents won’t allow her to drive it alone.
  • So – Anna had to leave early, so she asked a friend to drive her home.

When two independent clauses are connected by any one of the coordinators mentioned, it then forms a compound sentence. In most cases, a comma is required before the coordinator. A semicolon may also be used in place of the coordinator to add a different kind of effect to your statement. Without the use of the right punctuation and/or linking word, then you may be committing an error in the form of a run-on sentence. It’s also important to remember that a compound sentence must only consist of two or more independent clauses and not a dependent clause, otherwise it would be considered as a complex sentence.

Examples of Compound Sentences

Constructing a compound sentence verbally can be a lot easier than in print. But if you want to avoid multiple pauses in your narrative, then uniting related ideas into one powerful sentence can help you do so. Keep in mind that compound sentences are only meant to combine related information, otherwise this may cause confusion and misunderstanding with your audience.

The following are examples of compound sentences joined by a conjunction and a semicolon:

1. Compound Sentences with Conjunctions

  1. She did not take the bus this morning, for she did not have enough change.
  2. I really want to go to work today, but I’m too weak to get up.
  3. Everyone was busy at lunch, so I ate alone.
  4. We have never been to Disneyland, nor have we ever visited Universal Studios.
  5. Should we start eating now, or should we wait until everyone arrives?
  6. He went to the football game, but she stayed home.
  7. I like to jog because jogging is good to keep the body energized.
  8. Sloths are not good pets, for they can be difficult to take care of.
  9. He didn’t want to go to the salon, yet he went anyway.
  10. The team did their best, but they still lost the game.
  11. The photographer held up a toy, and the little girl laughed.
  12. I want hamburgers and fries, but Serena wants pizza and pasta.
  13. Can I walk you home, so I’m sure you’ll get there safely?

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2. Compound Sentences with a Semicolon

  1. Monica baked the wedding cake; Rachel decorated them.
  2. Australia is my favorite country; I plan to spend two months there next year.
  3. Check back next week; I will see if the book will arrive by then.
  4. I accept donations; any amount will be greatly appreciated.
  5. The night sky is clear; the moon is shining and the stars are twinkling.
  6. The waves were crashing against the rocks; it was a soothing sound to hear.
  7. I love hot chocolate; it helps me sleep.
  8. She only wears pastel colors; she does not like anything too bold.
  9. I was exhausted from staying up too late; I had to go to class anyway.
  10. My daughter just graduated from high school; she will attend the University of Cambridge in England next fall.

Learning the basics of proper sentence construction, along with its different types, allows you to enhance your communication skills in the simplest way possible. Not only do compound sentences make it easier to convey a clear thought, but it also allows us to summarize the things we write or say. The shorter the sentences are, then the easier it is for information to be received and relayed.

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