The Compound Sentence

A compound sentence is made up of at least two independent clauses and no dependent clauses.
Here's a sentence diagram of a compound sentence. Cool, huh?
Do you remember what independent clauses are? They are groups of words with a subject and a verb, and they can stand alone as complete thoughts.

When we take two or more independent clauses and join them together, we form a compound sentence. We usually connect the clauses with a comma and a coordinating conjunction, but you can also join them with a semicolon.

The ducks quacked, and the chicks peeped.

The ducks quacked; the chicks peeped.

Did you notice how the sentences above express two main ideas?

The word compound means that something is made up of two or more elements, so it makes sense that these sentences express two or more main ideas.

Here is a sentence expressing three main ideas:

The ducks quacked, the chicks peeped, and the farmer smiled.

Notice that there are three independent clauses in that example.

The ducks quacked. The chicks peeped. The farmer smiled.

They could all stand alone if they wanted to, but they have decided to come together as one sentence.

Aw... isn't that sweet?

Compound Sentences & Coordinating Conjunctions

Quick Refresher
    • They join things that are the same. (Like two or more independent clauses, two or more phrases, or two or more words.)

    • There are seven of them. (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)

    Learn more about coordinating conjunctions.

Don't Get Tricked!

Sentences may contain coordinating conjunctions and not be compound. Allow me to show you some examples.

Cathy and Dan visited us on Thanksgiving.

We ate turkey and played games.

Both of those sentences contain compound elements, but neither of them is compound.

The first sentence contains a compound subject (Cathy, Dan), and the second sentence contains a compound predicate (ate turkey, played games).

The structure of both of those sentences would be categorized as simple, not compound.

You remember why, right? In order to be compound, it needs to contain two or more independent clauses.

Diagramming Sentences = Awesome

These sentence diagrams will help you to see that these sentences are made up of two or more independent clauses. They make the definition visual. Check it out.
She cooked, and he cleaned.

compound sentence diagram

Other Helpful Resources

The Beginner's Guide to Grammar gives you a fun and visual way to get started with grammar and sentence diagramming. Yay!

Learn about other sentence structures.

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