The Beginner's Guide to Grammar

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The Beginner's Guide to Grammar

Our Free Guide Gives You A Fun Way To Teach And Learn The Basics

Download the guide

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're 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

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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 logical 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

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Other Helpful Resources

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Learn about other sentence structures.

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