What is a Compound Sentence?
A compound sentence is one of the types of sentence structures. The other common structures are simple and complex sentences. What do you mean by a compound sentence? Why is it used? What are some of the examples? To get answers to these questions, you can read this article. This piece of content is aimed at providing you a broad overview of compound sentences, their meaning, and concept.
Structure of a compound sentence
We saw that a simple sentence has only one independent clause. In a compound sentence, there are two independent clauses and no depending clause. The independent clauses are connected to each other by a coordinating conjunction. If you feel that this explanation contains too many jargons, here is a simpler version for you. A compound sentence is one that contains two parts, each of which can stand by alone by itself and still give meaning. The two parts are connected by a conjunction (words like but, and, etc.). When you see the examples below, you will understand the meaning better.
Compound Sentence Examples
- I ran quickly, but I missed the bus.
- The wife cooked, and the husband cleaned the dishes.
- It was raining heavily so I closed the windows.
Let us analyze the first example in a little bit of detail here – “I ran quickly, but I missed the bus.” Here, there are two parts, “I ran quickly” and “I missed the bus.” These are independent clauses. This means both these parts can stand alone by themselves as separate sentences and still give complete meaning for the reader. These two parts are connected with the help of a coordinating conjunction, but. In the next two examples, “and” and “so” are these conjunctions.
Points to note while using conjunctions
The important point that you have to note while using conjunctions for connecting the two independent clauses in a compound sentence is that you have to use only coordinating conjunctions. According to the rules of English grammar, there are only seven coordinating conjunctions that can be used in these compound sentences. They are:
The other types of conjunctions are subordinating (after, before, because, since, if, when, etc.) and correlative (neither-nor, either-or, not only-but also, etc.) Of these, the first one (subordinating) is used to connect an independent clause to a dependent clause and the second one (correlative) is used to connect two phrases.
Use of semicolon in place of coordinating conjunctions
We saw in the above paragraph that a compound sentence contains two independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction. Sometimes, when a conjunction is not present, a semicolon is also used to connect the independent clauses. For example, “There was a terror alert in the city; curfew was announced with immediate effect.”
Please note that you can only use a semicolon here to connect the independent clauses and not a comma. Using a comma is a grammatical error and is referred to as a comma splice.
Why use compound sentences
Yes, simple sentences are short and sweet. However, when you use too many of them in your content, it can get boring for the readers. It would look like there is no connection between your sentences. This is where compound sentences can bring more meaning and quality to your content. When you connect the sentences in your essay or paragraph using relevant coordinating conjunctions, it makes for an interesting read.
We hope that this overview would have helped you to understand more about compound sentences and what type of conjunction sand punctuation marks that you need to use to connect the independent clauses in these sentences.