How to Combine Sentences to Create Compound Sentences

by Laura Payne

When learning to create compound sentences, it is important not to overlook the alternate name of this type of sentence. Because a compound sentence is made up of two simple sentences joined by a coordinating conjunction, compound sentences are also called coordinate sentences. Knowing how to combine sentences to form a compound sentence entails knowledge of coordinating conjunctions and punctuation; it is also a useful skill that adds dimension to your writing.

Familiarize yourself with the linguistic concept of coordination. Coordination occurs when two or more like elements are joined by a coordinating conjunction. These elements can be words ("cat and dog"), phrases ("out the door and over the fence") or sentences ("He went to the store, and she did the dishes."). When creating compound sentences, be sure each of the coordinated sentences is a complete sentence with a subject and predicate. Occasionally, compound sentences are combined without coordinating conjunctions.

Memorize the coordinating conjunctions. The mnemonic acronym "FANBOYS" is a helpful tool. F = for A = and N = nor B = but O = or Y = yet S = so

Combine two sentences with a coordinating conjunction to form a compound sentence. The individual sentences must be of equal significance. Place a comma before the coordinating conjunction to avoid a run-on sentence. Examples: The pizza was delicious, and the cake was mediocre. John likes Lisa, but Lisa likes Jack. They won the game, so they will celebrate.

Connect two sentences with just a semicolon when the sentences are closely related. Examples: He is going to work; he plans to stay until midnight. It snowed all day; the skiing was great.

Coordinate two sentences with a semicolon followed by a conjunctive adverb and a comma. Examples: He loves reading books; however, he finds magazines a bore. The list of coordinating conjunctions is not too long; in fact, there are only seven.

Tips

  • More than two sentences can be combined in a compound sentence. For example:
  • Hank rode a bike, and Larry rode a scooter, but Fred walked.

Warnings

  • If one sentence is dependent on the other, they are not grammatically equal; thus, they do not form a compound sentence.
  • Example:
  • John likes Lisa because she is nice.

About the Author

Last year I received a Master of Arts in Linguistics from Wayne State University with a cumulative GPA of 3.81. I chose to study linguistics, not only because I truly enjoy the intricacies of language, but I also felt that it would compliment my undergraduate degree in journalism. Throughout my coursework, writing played a key role. I wrote numerous research papers and a 50+ page thesis; each of which required that I follow the format and guidelines of the Linguistic Society of America. Additionally, during my undergraduate work in journalism, I followed the format and guidelines of the Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual. In short, I am accustomed to writing and/or editing under the constraints of certain formats and guidelines if called for. {{}}

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