Compound Sentences

In this lesson, you will learn about compound sentences and four ways to construct them. I will discuss three types of conjunctions – coordinating, adverbial, and correlative and will talk about the structures they can connect. You will also learn how to place commas in a compound sentence. By the end of the lesson, you should be able to analyze compound sentences as well as use them in your own writing with the correct punctuation.

You can watch the video of this lesson, print the map I am using in the video, and then practice analyzing compound sentences. In the paragraph analysis, I list subjects and verbs in each independent clause. If you have a problem finding subjects, verbs, objects, complements, or adverbials, you can watch the previous lesson on simple sentences.

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A Compound sentence is a sentence that consists of several independent clauses. Independent clauses can be joined by coordinating, adverbial, or correlative conjunctions or simply by a semicolon.

        e.g. Tom is despondent, and he is also extremely disappointed. 

When you write a compound sentence, you just join two or more simple sentences together with conjunctions. If you take the conjunctions out, the sentences will still be complete and will make a perfect sense.

4 ways to make a compound sentence:

  1. By using coordinating conjunctions: FANBOYS – for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.    e.g. Tom is despondent, but he pretends to be cheerful. 
  2. By using adverbial conjunctions (transitions), e.g. however, moreover, therefore, etc.   e.g. Tom had a party last night; therefore, he has failed a test.
  3. By using correlative conjunctions (conjunctions that have two parts), e.g. either…or, both…and, not only…but also.   e.g. Either we should give students a small break, or we should let them go home.
  4. By using punctuation signs, e.g. “;’ or “-”.   e.g. Tom had a party last night; he has failed a test today.

REMEMBER that commas DO NOT JOIN clauses. On the opposite, commas work as scissors to separate clauses and ideas! USE CONJUNCTIONS TO JOIN CLAUSES!

1. Always place a comma after the first independent clause before a coordinating conjunction – FANBOYS – when joining clauses.

               e.g. Tom is despondent, or at least he looks that way.
2. Always place a comma after the first independent clause before a correlative conjunction when joining clauses.
              e.g. Whether teachers are happy or they are sad, all are dedicated to students.
3. Always place a semicolon after the first independent clause and a comma after a transition when joining clauses.
                e.g. Tom had a party last night; however, he has passed the test easily.


Do not use more than two independent clauses in one sentences. Since each independent clause has a separate main idea of roughly equal importance, a reader can lose the first idea by the end of the sentence. Instead, make your ideas more descriptive by using dependent clauses and constructing complex sentences.

Do not overuse compound sentences in your writing.  One compound sentence per paragraph is enough! When you use too many compound sentences, your writing looks so full of ideas, that it becomes difficult to comprehend you. Focus on being more descriptive.

Do not overuse commas.  Depending on the conjunction you have chosen, there are different punctuation signs you can use in a compound sentence. If you are not sure what punctuation sign to use, do not use a comma instead. It’s better not to use commas rather than overuse them!

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