Compound subjects masterclass

This lesson helps us understand what a compound subject is, how to form it, and when to use it.

Compound subject explanation
Compound subject explanation

What is a compound subject in English?

Compound subject definition: a compound subject is a combination of two or more subjects (nouns or noun phrases) that share the same verb/predicate. The subjects in a compound subject are brought together with a conjunction.

Most compound subjects in English are formed using the coordinating conjunctionand‘, but there are other coordinating and correlative conjunctions that are also used to form a compound subject.

David and Tim have prepared a report about the losses together.

The compound subject has two simple subjects (David and Tim) in it, and they are brought together with the coordinating conjunction ‘and‘.

Your brother and his friends have been begging me to train them.

The compound subject here is a combination of two complete subjects (noun phrases). Notice both complete subjects are sharing the same action (begging).

If more than two subjects share the same verb, we use commas and a conjunction to separate them.

Max, Jon, and Amanda started a business last year.

Notice that the compound subject has three simple subjects sharing the same verb in it. We have used a comma after every subject leaving the last one. A conjunction is needed before the last subject in a compound subject or any list of items.

Compound subjects added with AND

When two or more nouns are joined with the conjunction ‘and‘, the compound subject becomes plural, and it needs a plural verb. Here are some examples of compound subjects that are added with the coordinating conjunction ‘and‘:

  • You and I can start something on our own.
  • My father and I don’t see eye to eye on so many different subjects.
  • Dedication, passion, and perseverance are needed to be successful in life.
  • Monu and Sonu have known each other for years.
  • The man in the black jacket and the guy standing next to him are professional fighters.

NOTE: We also use BOTH before the first subject to add two subjects in a compound subject. The difference between the coordinating conjunction ‘and’ and the correlative conjunction ‘both…and’ is that the former (and) is used to add two or more subjects in a compound subject, but the latter (both…and) adds only two subjects.

Examples:

  • Both you and I need this job badly.
  • Both Justin and his brother Jon are outstanding singers.

Compound subjects added with ‘OR

  • Pune or Bangalore can be a good place for a job change.
  • Rahul or his guy Tony will talk to you about this soon.
  • You or I will have to do this.

Compound subjects added with ‘EITHER…OR’

  • Either Max or you know about this.
  • Either my parents or I am right here, and I feel it’s me.
  • Either Simran or Anil is responsible for the failure of the project.
  • Either you or your wife has planned this whole thing.

Compound subjects added with ‘NEITHER…OR’

  • Neither you nor I know entirely what happened at the meeting.
  • Neither Tina nor Riya is a good fit for the job.
  • Neither the suit you wore yesterday nor the one you’re wearing right now is appropriate for today’s event.
  • Neither your I nor the teachers want to see you fail the exam.

Why use a compound subject in a sentence?

A compound subject makes your writing look precise, not elementary or redundant. It allows you to put information in a more precise form and makes the writing look advanced or complex. 

  • I love playing cricket. My brother loves playing cricket. 
  • My brother and I love playing cricket. 

Notice that using a compound subject allowed us to change two sentences into one sentence as both subjects are referring to the same verb, meaning the subjects do the same thing. The compound subject made the sentence precise and helped us remove redundant information. 

More examples:

  • Jon is my close friend. Allen is my close friend.
  • Jon and Allen are my close friends.
  • My father won’t believe you. My mother won’t believe you.
  • Neither my father nor my mother will believe you.
  • Janice works with Samsung. Monica works with Samsung.
  • Janice and Monica work with Samsung.

Compound subject and its verb

Using the right verb of a compound subject can be tricky. When compound sentences are formed using the conjunctions or, either…or, and neither…nor, the verb follows the part that comes after the second conjunction (or, nor).

In other words, it follows the subject that it’s closest to.

  • Jon or I is going to lead the program. ❌
  • Jon or I am going to lead the program. ✅
  • Either my parents or my brother Tarun have made this list. ❌
  • Either my parents or my brother Tarun has made this list. ✅
  • Neither you nor I are right for this role. ❌
  • Neither you nor I am right for this role. ✅
  • Either Monu or his parents has planned this trip. ❌
  • Either Monu or his parents have planned this trip. ✅

Now, we know everything about compound subjects. 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 compound subject example?

Compound subject example: Ashish and his friend Allen have started a training company. The compound subject (in bold) has two subjects in it: 1) Ashish, and 2) his friend Allen.

What are 5 examples of compound subjects?

Examples of compound subjects:
1. You and I can do something together.
2. Tea or coffee works for me.
3. Both the management and Rohan are wrong here.
4. Either Delhi or Lucknow offers the best food.
5. Sara and Vinit look good together.

Which one is an example of a compound subject?

My mother and her friend Nia love tea made by me. My mother and her friend Nia are the subjects in the compound subject.

How do you create a compound subject?

Add two or more subjects that do the same action and share the same action and join them together with a coordinating conjunction or correlative conjunction to form a compound subject. 1. Rohan works with my company. 2. Jia works with my company. Compound subject: Rohan and Jia work with my company.


Why are compound subjects important?

A compound subject helps us to eliminate repetitive information and make the sentence more precise.

Are compound subjects simple subjects?

The subjects brought together in aq compound subject can be a simple subject or a complete subject.
1. Allen and Nimrit will lead this project. (the subjects added in this compound subject are simple subjects)
2. Your friend Mangesh and my marketing guy can do some great work together. (the compound subject has two complete subjects in it)

What makes a compound subject?

A compound subject needs at least two subjects (simple or complete) that share the same verb. They are joined together with a conjunction, usually ‘and/or

Sharing Is Caring:

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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