Compound sentences made easy

A compound sentence is two simple sentences joined together with a comma and a coordinating conjunction. Never forget to add the comma. The coordinating conjunctions (CC) are: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. These CCs can be remembered with the mnemonic "fanboys". The acronym comes from for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

Each CC serves a purpose in a compound sentence:

For shows reason, and indicates addition; nor adds a negative, but points to opposition; or offers an alternative, yet depicts exception; and so yields a result. Examples of compound sentences are:

Their new house is lovely, and I envy their spacious backyard.

The teacher was talking, but the pupils failed to listen.

You can join me at the store, or you can stay home.

She wanted to buy a car, so she saved her money.

I don't like parties, yet I was the last one to leave.

Caution. Not all sentences with a CC from fanboys are compound sentences, and not all sentences with a comma are compound sentences.

Compound sentences normally consist of two independent clauses joined together with a comma and a CC. Therefore, each clause should be able to stand alone as a complete, simple sentence if the comma and CC were removed. Example:

We both enjoyed the movie, but we didn't like the main actor.

If the comma and CC are removed, two simple sentences are created:

We both enjoyed the movie. We didn't like the main actor.

Tip

Compound sentences can be represented by the formula: simple sentence + comma + one of the CCs in fanboys + simple sentence + period = compound sentence

Try this formula on your own to practise making compound sentences.

Heather Vlach is an English-language specialist and Intensive Studies educator at International School Bangkok in Nonthaburi. Her email address is heatherv@isb.ac.th.

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Writer: Heather Vlach
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