Compound Sentences - Explore Meaning, Definition, How to Use Them with Examples

I am not sure you like thriller films, but I think you will enjoy this one.

In any language, being able to write meaningful and well-structured sentences is the key to good communication. Every language learner starts with simple sentences. If you are a person who is comfortable with writing simple sentences and wishes to take your writing a level higher, you can start learning how to form compound sentences. This article will help you with all that you need to know about compound sentences, their meaning, definition and their rules of usage. Also, check out the examples given and try out the practice questions to develop a much better idea of the topic.

Table of Contents

What is a Compound Sentence?

A compound sentence is one that has two or more independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction. Compound sentences make a piece of writing look a lot more sophisticated and informative. Let us look at the following definitions given by different dictionaries for a better idea of what they are.

Definition of a Compound Sentence

A compound sentence, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is defined as “a sentence made from two independent sentences joined by ‘and’, ‘or’, or ‘but’, as in Mary read and Tom slept.” According to the Macmillan Dictionary, a compound sentence is defined as “a sentence consisting of two or more independent clauses, linked by a coordinating conjunction such as ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, or ‘plus’.” A compound sentence is “a sentence consisting of two or more independent, coordinate clauses”, according to the Collins Dictionary.

Points to Remember When Forming Compound Sentences

When forming a compound sentence, you have to use coordinating conjunctions to link the independent clauses and be conscious of the punctuation as well. Given below are the points that you should keep in mind when forming compound sentences.

  • Remember that compound sentences are a combination of more than one main clause. A main clause or an independent clause is a clause that can stand by itself and pass off as a complete and meaningful sentence.
  • Make sure you use a comma before the coordinating conjunction that links the two independent clauses. The coordinating conjunctions that can be used to link the clauses in a compound sentence are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
  • In some cases, you can also form a compound sentence with the use of a coordinating conjunction. When you do so, you have to place a semicolon in between the two main clauses.
  • As far as capitalisation is concerned, you have to capitalise only the first letter of the first word in the compound sentence. Unless you are using proper nouns in the sentence, do not think of capitalising any other word.
  • Note that you can also use conjunctive adverbs like however, anyway, meanwhile, likewise, otherwise, etc. to combine the main clauses to form a compound sentence. If you are using conjunctive adverbs, make sure you use a semicolon before it and a comma after it.

There is, however, one problem English language users face when forming compound sentences. They end up forming long, unclear sentences. Always keep in mind that short sentences allow you convey your thought and ideas clearly and help your audience understand them easily. So, even when you are forming compound sentences, make them as short as possible. If required, add more clauses to form compound sentences, but make sure that you do it only if it is absolutely necessary.

Identifying a Compound Sentence

As you already know, conjunctions are used to link words, phrases and clauses. So, how will you identify if it is a compound sentence or not? Here are some tips to help you do it.

  • Always bear in mind what a compound sentence is. That is the first thing that will help you.
  • Since coordinating conjunctions can be used to combine individual words, phrases and clauses, you should first try to pick out the words, phrases or clauses that are linked by a particular conjunction. Only if they combine two or more independent clauses can they be said to be a compound sentence.

Take a look at the following sentences to have a clearer idea of how you can differentiate compound sentences from the others.

The sentences below show how conjunctions can link two words.

  • Reena and Rayan are on the way to the grocery store.
  • Nobody can do it but you.
  • Who is taking care of the stage decorations? Monica or Rachel?
  • No one but you can fix this.
  • I have bread and butter for breakfast everyday.
  • Do you prefer to have milk or coffee?

Now, have a look at the following examples of compound sentences.

  • I like doing the Christmas tree, and I would love for you to join.
  • Are you coming with me, or are you going to the auditorium?
  • He was not well, yet he decided to go to work.

Try removing the conjunctions from the above sentences and you will see that you have two independent clauses or two complete sentences.

Examples of Compound Sentences

Now that you have learnt what compound sentences are, take a look at the following examples to see how you can form meaningful and well-written compound sentences.

Compound Sentences with a Coordinating Conjunction

  • I am ready to go,/ but/ my brother has not reached home yet.
  • Independent clause, / Coordinating conjunction / Independent clause

  • Jerry did not complete his homework,/ so/ the teacher punished him.
  • Independent clause, / Coordinating conjunction / Independent clause

  • My brother should drop me,/ or/ I cannot make it to the reception.
  • Independent clause, / Coordinating conjunction / Independent clause

Compound Sentences without a Conjunction

  • The dress is too tight;/ I don’t think I am going to buy this.
  • Independent clause; / Independent clause

  • He likes Marvel movies;/ he would probably watch all of it at one stretch.
  • Independent clause; / Independent clause

  • Try to focus on your studies;/ everyone else is working really hard and improving their grades.
  • Independent clause; / Independent clause

Compound Sentences with a Conjunctive Adverb

  • It was not easy to do it;/ however,/ Ashwin managed to complete it.
  • Independent clause; / Subordinating conjunction,/ Independent clause

  • We have to complete it;/ otherwise, /we will have to face the consequences.
  • Independent clause; / Subordinating conjunction,/ Independent clause

  • The cleaning work was being done by all the kids;/ meanwhile,/ we found a way to sort out their cupboards.
  • Independent clause; / Subordinating conjunction,/ Independent clause

Check Your Understanding of Compound Sentences

Use the sentence given below to form compound sentences by combining them with the most appropriate coordinating conjunction or conjunctive adverb. If you think the compound sentence does not require a linking word to make complete sense, use a semicolon.

Example:

I have a dog. His name is Tommy.

I have a dog and his name is Tommy.

1. All the employers have been requesting for a change in working hours for many months now. The company has not made any changes yet.

2. My parents want me to become an IAS officer. I want to become a teacher.

3. My mom was too tired. She cleaned the house.

4. My father is back home. We don’t know when he will leave again.

5. Study well. You will not pass.

6. Nobody was prepared for the test. The teacher started a new lesson.

7. He ate too much. He felt ill.

8. We are happy you made a contribution for the people affected by floods. Any amount will be appreciated.

9. We have never been to Dubai. We have not been to India.

10. Shall we start class now? Should we wait for the rest of them?

From the answers given below, check if you have combined the sentences correctly to form compound sentences.

1. All the employers have been requesting for a change in working hours for many months now; however, the company has not made any changes yet.

2. My parents want me to become an IAS officer, but I want to become a teacher.

3. My mom was too tired, yet she cleaned the house.

4. My father is back home; however, we don’t know when he will leave again.

5. Study well or you will not pass.

6. Nobody was prepared for the test, so the teacher started a new lesson.

7. He ate too much, and he felt ill.

8. We are happy you made a contribution for the people affected by floods; any amount will be appreciated.

9. We have never been to Dubai nor have we ever been to India.

10. Shall we start class now or should we wait for the rest of them?

Frequently Asked Questions on Compound Sentences in English

What is a compound sentence?

A compound sentence is one that has two or more independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction.

What is the definition of a compound sentence?

A compound sentence, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is defined as “a sentence made from two independent sentences joined by ‘and’, ‘or’, or ‘but’, as in Mary read and Tom slept.” According to the Macmillan Dictionary, a compound sentence is defined as “a sentence consisting of two or more independent clauses, linked by a coordinating conjunction such as ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, or ‘plus’.” A compound sentence is “a sentence consisting of two or more independent, coordinate clauses”, according to the Collins Dictionary.

What are the rules to be followed when forming a compound sentence?

Here are the rules that you should keep in mind when forming compound sentences.

  • A compound sentence should have at least two independent clauses.
  • The independent clauses in a compound sentence can be combined using a coordinating conjunction or a conjunctive adverb.
  • Use a comma before the coordinating conjunction.
  • Use a semicolon before a conjunctive adverb.
  • You can also form compound sentences without a coordinating conjunction or a conjunctive adverb. When you do so, use a semicolon to separate the two independent clauses.

Give some examples of compound sentences.

Here are a few examples of compound sentences that you can refer to.

  • Jerry did not complete his homework, so the teacher punished him.
  • My brother should drop me, or I cannot make it to the reception.
  • We have to complete it; otherwise, we will have to face the consequences.
  • The cleaning work was being done by all the kids; meanwhile, we found a way to sort out their cupboards.
  • He likes Marvel movies; he would probably watch all of it at one stretch.
  • Try to focus on your studies; everyone else is working really hard and improving their grades.

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