The Compound Sentence
A compound sentence is made up of at least two independent clauses
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 expresses 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?
• 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.
If you want to teach or learn grammar the easy way, then follow a step-by-step program that clearly lays everything out for you and allows you to move at your own pace. The Get Smart program is presented in a meaningful sequence, so it's not an overwhelming mishmash of information. Before you know it, you'll be a grammar and sentence diagramming pro!
The whole program is online, so you have instant access to these lessons and videos. It's easy and fun. You can get it at www.English-Grammar-Revolution.com/daily-diagrams.html
Keep learning and have fun!
Elizabeth O'Brien is the creator of the Grammar Revolution step-by-step grammar and sentence diagramming programs. Her programs are guaranteed not only to teach you grammar, but also to give you more confidence in your communication skills.
To get your free Parts of Speech guide and receive Elizabeth's bi-weekly articles on improving your grammar and having fun with sentence diagramming, enter your email address and name below right now.
Understand the compound sentence? Learn about other sentence structures.
Back to Sentence Diagramming Index
Back to English Grammar Home Page