Compound Sentences

Lucy came home for lunch, and she cooked hot dogs. Henry went to the business meeting but then he returned to his office. Both of these sentences are compound sentences. An independent clause (a clause with a subject and verb). Independent clauses can freely stand on their own, unlike dependent clauses that lack a subject and a verb. These come before and after the coordinating conjunction – a word joining two similar adverbs, nouns, adjectives, nouns, phrases or independent clauses that separates it.

But first, realize that compound sentences can be written with and without a conjunction. Moreover, these sentences must have two sentences and two verbs. It’s indeed possible that the subjects and verbs could be identical, but this is not always the case; however, the subject must always be in agreement with its verb (subject-verb agreement).

The first method uses a coordinating conjunction, and relies on FANBOYS (for, nor, but, or, yet [and] so). These coordinating conjunctions come after the comma separating two independent clauses:

The bus driver drove to Main Street, and then he drove to Elm Avenue.
George finished his math homework, but he didn’t finish his science project.
We drove to New York City, yet we didn’t visit Times Square.

The second method gives you the option to write a compound sentence without using a coordinating conjunction. A semicolon is used in its place. This method is still considered correct. Use this method if you want to provide emphasis or contrast to a portion of your writing.

Alexander enjoys skiing; cross-country skiing is his favorite pastime.
The woodworker built the bookcase; he also built the dresser.
It’s been snowing all day; the roads are slick and icy.

A third method includes joining the sentences together with a conjunctive adverb. These are words such as however, therefore, furthermore, also, etc.

Sandra likes action movies; however, she does not like documentaries.
Ava went to the aquarium while on vacation; also, she went to a museum.
It rained Saturday so we couldn’t go camping; nevertheless, we went bowling.

Now it’s your turn. Copy each of the sentences onto a piece of paper. Practice writing them using each of the three methods.

1. Susan enjoys going to the beach. She enjoys mountain climbing.
2. Raspberries and bananas are healthy fruits. They are a great source of fiber.
3. Theodore’s plane landed in Seattle. He went right to the hotel.

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