Compound sentence masterclass

In this lesson, we learn everything about the compound sentence in English.

Compound sentence explanation in English
Compound sentence explanation in English

What is a compound sentence in English?

Compound sentence definition: a compound sentence is a combination of two or more independent clauses, usually two, joined together with a coordinating conjunction.

There are 7 coordinating conjunctions in English: for, and, not, but, or, yet, and so. 

One way to remember them is to remember the acronym: FANBOYS. Every letter in this word refers to a particular coordinating conjunction.

 F = for
 A = and
 N = nor
 B = but
 O = or
 Y = yet
 S = so

Compound sentences make sentences look more informative, systematic, and sophisticated. 

1. Janice is a public speaker.
2. Janice loves helping people achieve their goals. 

Notice these are two complete sentences (independent clauses). Since they have a relation between them, we can bring them together and change these two sentences into one compound sentence. 

Janice is a public speaker, and she loves helping people achieve their goals. 

Notice that we have used a coordinating conjunction and a comma to add the sentences together and form a compound sentence. You would agree that the information put in a compound sentence looks more advanced and appealing, compared to the separate simple sentences.

Independent clauses + COMMA + FOR + Independent clause

Note: when two independent clauses (sentences) are joined together with a coordinating conjunction, we must use a comma before the conjunction. Not doing it would make the sentence ungrammatical. 

  • The company needs a content writer, and you can be a good fit. 

(Notice that both clauses are referring to a certain situation; they are related to each other. If they weren’t, adding them together wouldn’t make much sense. The clauses brought together in a compound sentence must have a certain relationship and refer to a certain situation.)

Let’s understand this with the help of an example. 

  • India is a democratic country.
  • Mangesh is my best friend.

Now, are these sentences related? Can we form a compound sentence with them?

The answer is simple: no. They don’t have any relation or connection, and bringing them together doesn’t make any sense grammatically. So, it’s vital for us to understand that compound sentences are formed or needed to be formed especially when the clauses added are related to each other, and there’s a relation between them.

Examples of compound sentences:

  1. The food was amazing, and we loved it.
  2. My parents have gone to Mumbai, and I would have to cook for myself today.
  3. Simi is leaving the organization, for she found a better role outside.
  4. You have everything to enjoy, yet you keep complaining about being unfortunate.
  5. Ashish doesn’t like taking an easy route, nor does he teach others to do it.
  6. I couldn’t pick up your call, for I was in an important meeting.
  7. Everything about your speech was great, but you seemed a little nervous while delivering it.
  8. The train will leave exactly at 12:25 pm, so reach the platform on time.
  9. The roads are completely packed today, so I wouldn’t be able to reach the office on time.
  10. They had all their star players on the team, yet they lost the match badly.
  11. I had to take a cab to the meeting yesterday, for my car had broken down.

FOR

The coordinating conjunction ‘for’ is used to give the reason for an action. It is used after the first sentence and introduces another sentence that states the reason for the first one.

I won’t come to the college tomorrow, for I have to take my father to the dentist in the morning.

Notice the second sentence tells us why I won’t come to the college tomorrow.

More examples:

  • We all are here, for we care about you.
  • People have come out of their houses, for a high-magnitude earthquake was felt a few minutes ago.
  •  Monu has started working out, for he wants to be fit again.

AND

In a compound sentence, the conjunction ‘and’ is used to join two parallel ideas. It joins two independent clauses that are related and parallel.

I love you, and I can do anything for you.

Notice that both clauses are revolving around a person. The speaker is giving two pieces of information about them.

More examples:

  • Customers are waiting at the counter, and you are smoking here carelessly.
  • All of this has happened because of you, and you know it.
  • We have lost the opportunity, and there is no point in crying over the spilled milk.

NOR

The conjunction ‘nor’ is used to add two negative sentences. The second independent clause uses inversion in it, meaning the verb comes before the subject.

I don’t drink alcohol, nor do I smoke.

This is a compound sentence where the speaker is giving two pieces of information that are negative. In other words, the speaker talks about two things they don’t do.

More examples:

  • We have never had this before, nor do we want to have it.
  • You’re not a good friend, nor are you a loyal husband.
  • We haven’t seen him in days, nor have we heard anything about him.

BUT

The coordinating conjunction ‘but’ in a compound sentence shows a contrast between two ideas of equal importance.

I wanted to help you, but they didn’t let me do it.

Here, in the compound sentence, both clauses show a contrast between them.

More examples:

  • I want to help you, but my hands are tied here.
  • People working here love taking a break every two hours, but I don’t follow this practice.
  • He went to everyone for help, but no one helped him.

OR

The coordinating conjunction ‘or’ in a compound sentence introduces an option or an alternative.

 Do you want to come with usor do you want to stay here?

In the example, the coordinating conjunction presents two options in form of a question.

  • Are you happy with the food, or should I get you something else?
  • You finish the task, or you don’t take it up. 
  • I will ask Sneha to pick you up from your place, or I’ll do it myself.

YET

YET as a coordinating conjunction shows a contrast between two ideas.

Ashish brings more business than everyone else on the team, yet the company is planning to lay him off.

Notice that the second clause in the sentence works as shocking or unprecedented for the speaker. When you do something positive, you don’t generally get punished for it. Such type of contrast between two ideas is shown by the coordinating conjunction ‘so’.

Examples:

  • He did everything right, yet he failed the exam.
  • I help everyone on the team and guide them, yet they talk down about me on my back.
  • She eats all day long, yet she doesn’t get fat.

SO

The conjunction ‘so’ shows a cause-and-effect relationship between the first and the second independent clause (sentence). The second sentence that uses ‘so‘ functions as the result or the consequence of the first clause.

 • I was feeling blue, so I didn’t go to the office.

In the sentence, the second independent clause is the result of the first one.

More examples:

  • I was getting late, so I left without giving you a call.
  • It’s very hot outside today, so you should keep an umbrella with you.
  • You have been extremely instrumental in increasing the sales of the department, so we are raising your pay by 20%.

Compound sentence and semicolons

We can use a semicolon in a compound sentence to add two independent clauses when the clauses are related or connected.

The venue is too far away from here; we should take a cab.

Notice that both sentences in the compound sentence above are referring to a certain (same) situation. Since they are closely connected to each other, we have used a semicolon and brought them together.

More examples:

  • I don’t know what to do here; I am confused.
  • They’ll definitely call you in some time; they need you for this job.
  • You should join this club; it’ll help you by giving you more confidence and clarity.
  • India can still win the match; they have two highly talented batsmen to come.
  • The HR department laid off some employees last month; the company couldn’t afford their salaries anymore.
  • I am definitely going on the trip; it’s going to be a lot of fun.
  • You can’t drive your vehicle here; it’s prohibited.
  • Jon and Allen might not show up today; they are down with their health.
  • Don’t speak against him in the meeting; you can lose your job.
  • I love coming here in the evening; the place makes me feel happy.
  • She can’t have the cake; she is allergic to milk.

Notice all the compound sentences have connected independent clauses in them. The semicolon gives the sense of a conjunction and shows a certain relation between the clauses. It, though, is completely fine to separate them with a period.

Compound sentence and conjunctive adverbs

A conjunction adverb can also be used to bring two independent clauses together and form a compound sentence. 

It is preceded by a semicolon and followed by a comma. Both punctuation marks separate the conjunctive adverb from both clauses. Note that the conjunctive adverb works as an adverb here.

Common conjunctive adverbs in English: however, therefore, moreover, nevertheless, hence, in fact, etc.

This house would be perfect for you; in fact, you should buy it right away.

Notice that we have brought two sentences together with the help of a conjunctive adverb and formed a compound sentence. Also, notice that a comma is used after the conjunctive adverb to separate it from both sentences. Both independent clauses are closely connected to each other and revolve around the same situation.

More examples:

  • I never liked going to college; nonetheless, I was always focused and dedicated in the classroom.
  • John didn’t listen to anyone and kept making excuses for poor work; as a result, the company fired him.
  • It had been pouring down rain for 5 hours; consequently, the match was canceled. 
  • You might not get drinking water and good food there; accordingly, pack your bags.
  • Everyone in the office was mesmerized by his speech; for example, the HR department facilitated him the other day.

Note: conjunctive adverbs are also called sentence adverbs.

Compound sentence and a colon

Two independent clauses can also be brought together using a colon and form a compound sentence.

A colon is used to add two sentences together when the second one explains, clarifies, or summarizes the first one. If that’s not the case, separate them with a period or use other ways to add them.

I told you about the consequences of arguing with the boss: you will lose your job.

In this sentence, we have added two sentences together with a colon. Notice that the sentence following the colon explains the first one.

There’s one problem with this report: it looks weak statistically.

Notice that the sentence following the colon explains the first one and tells us what the problem is.

Life is a puzzle: most people can’t solve it.

In this compound sentence, the independent clause following the colon clarifies the first one as to why the speaker is calling life a puzzle.

Using a colon to form a compound sentence and bring two independent clauses together is an advanced way of putting information together. It makes the writing sophisticated, systematic, and eloquent.

More examples of a colon in a compound sentence:

  • You can’t say no to his orders here: he is the boss. 
  • I won’t be able to make it to the party: I am stuck in a terrible traffic jam.
  • Bread is poison to me: it makes me so lethargic and creates problems in my stomach. 
  • She will say the same thing to you: I am too busy right now. 
  • Never forget one thing: I gave you this job.

Different ways to form a compound sentence


With a coordinating conjunction
First independent clause +comma +coordinating conjunction +
(for, and, nor, but, yet, or, so)
second independent clause
Sample example: He has a lot of money, but no one respects him.

With a semicolon
First independent clause +semicolon +no conjunction used second independent clause
Sample example: The movie was amazing; we loved it.


With a colon
First independent clause +colon +no conjunction used second independent clause
Sample example: I need a new place: my owner threw me out of his apartment.
With a conjunctive adverbFirst independent clause +semicolon +conjunctive adverb + comma +second independent clause
Sample example: He kept talking in the meeting; therefore, Jon asked him to move out.

How to form a compound sentence in English

Important points about a compound sentence

  • A compound sentence usually has two independent clauses in it.
  • The clauses in it are related to each other and refer to a certain situation.
  • Most compound sentences are formed using a comma and a coordinating conjunction.
  • Compound sentences are punctuated with a semicolon when the clauses in them are closely connected.
  • It can’t have a dependent clause in it.
  • Sentence adverbs/conjunctive adverbs can also be used to add two independent clauses together and form a compound sentence.
  • If the clauses in a compound sentence aren’t connected and using any punctuation mark or conjunction doesn’t seem appropriate, use a period to separate the clauses.
  • We can also use a colon to add two independent clauses in a compound sentence. This is done only when the second clause explains, clarifies, or summarizes the first one.

Now, we know what a compound sentence is and everything about it. Feel free to share your question, doubt, or feedback in the comment section, and also, share the post with the people that need it.

For one-on-one classes, contact me at [email protected].

FAQs

What is a good compound sentence?

Ex – You weren’t responding to my calls, so I left. Here, in this example, we have added two ideas with a coordinating conjunction. The conjunction ‘so’ establishes a certain relation in the sentence.

What are the 3 types of compound sentences?

Here are the 3 common ways to form a compound sentence:
1. Using a coordinating conjunction (Ex – She has done so much for me, for she loves me.)
2. Using a semicolon (Ex – The house is overpriced; I won’t buy it.)
3. Using a semicolon, conjunctive adverb, and comma (Ex – You have always tried to help me in my tough times; thus, I would support you by giving you a job.)

What is the definition of a compound sentence?

A compound sentence is a combination of two or more independent clauses, usually two, joined together with a coordinating conjunction.

What are 5 examples of compound sentences?

Here are 5 examples of compound sentences:
1. The building was so amazing, and it had a huge parking lot too.
2. He is not feeling well right now; don’t trouble him.
3. This cafe offers delicious food items, yet the occupancy rate of the place is very low.
4. I can’t have tea or coffee, for I am lactose intolerant.
5. Sneha got the most cheers and praise, yet she didn’t win the competition.

How to identify a compound sentence?

A compound sentence can be formed in a variety of ways. If one of the following things is seen in a sentence, it’s probably a compound sentence (assuming that it does not have any dependent clause in it):
1. A coordinating conjunction and a comma before it joins two independent clauses.
2. A semicolon is there and adding two independent clauses.
3. A conjunctive adverb is bringing two independent clauses together. The adverb has a semicolon before it and a comma after it.
4. A colon is there and adding two independent clauses.

What is an example of a compound sentence?

Ex: The company needs a content writer, and you can be a good fit. (Notice that both clauses are referring to a certain situation; they are related to each other. If they weren’t, adding them together wouldn’t make much sense. The clauses brought together in a compound sentence must have a certain relationship and refer to a certain situation.)

What are the 4 types of compound sentences?

Here are 4 different types of compound sentences in English:
1. Compound sentence with a coordinating conjunction. Ex – I am a life coach, and I love helping people.
2. Compound sentence with a semicolon. Ex – You are my brother; I will do anything for you.
3. Compound sentence with a colon. Ex – I didn’t like one thing about the event: it had terrible lighting.
4. Compound sentence with a conjunctive adverb. Ex – You are not ready for the job right now; however, I will give you a chance.

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Ashish found his first love—the English language—a few years back. Since then, he has been immersed in the language, breaking down the language and teaching it to passionate English learners. He has a flair for listening to the English language (podcasts, sitcoms, stories), observing the nuances, and making it easy for English learners. He is known for breaking down complex English topics and making them easy to be understood.

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