Grammar Basics: The Compound Sentence

Last week was all about the simple sentence and this week is al about the compound sentence.

Grammar Basics: Compound Sentences

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What is a compound sentence?

To REFRESH: A sentence is a set of words that have been brought together into a complete thought. A sentence is also called an independent clause because it can stand on its own.

Well, a compound sentence is a sentence that contains two or more independent clauses (sentences).

For example: Anna writes every day so she can write one book a month.

(The two independent clauses are “Anna writes every day.” and “She can write one book a month.” As you can see, both of theses sentences can stand alone as independent sentences but are brought together into one compound sentence with the coordinating conjunction “so.”)

Compound Sentences and Coordinating Conjunctions

Compound sentences are usually created by inserting coordinating conjunctions between the independent clauses. The purpose of coordinating conjunctions is to show indicate the relationship between the independent clauses in a compound sentence. The most common coordinating conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.

A few years ago, I took a class and the instructor suggested using the acronym FANBOYS to help remember the coordinating conjunctions and their relationship within a sentence.

For = reason, and = addition, nor = not another option, but = contrast, or = another option, yet = contrasting addition, so = result

If you ever get confused whether a sentence is a compound sentence or not, take the clause apart and see if you can make two separate sentences out of it. If you can then you know it is a proper compound sentence. If you can’t, then you probably have a fragment in your sentence and will need to add some form of punctuation.

We will discuss fragments and punctuation in future posts. In the meantime, next week we will talk about complex sentences.

Next Steps

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