Compound Sentences

A compound sentence structure shows that two thoughts are connected and of equal importance:

Jenny hid the hen, and Benny tried (unsuccessfully) to hide the cow.

Max maintained that the database needed restructuring, but Laura disagreed.

Remember these four important characteristics of compound sentences:

1. A compound sentence is like a set of twins; each is a separate person, yet each is connected to the other with the same biological "make-up." That is, each has a subject, a verb, and words to complete the thought. Although they are joined by a linking word, each sentence of the compound is complete in itself and can stand alone.

2. The two parts of the compound sentence need to be linked correctly, with a comma and then a linking word at the place where one sentence ends and the other begins. (Otherwise you will have a sentence error called a run-on sentence. Run-on sentences are typically compound sentences without the proper punctuation and/or linking word.)

3. Because there are two complete sentences in a compound sentence, each has equal weight in terms of the ideas being presented. That is, you may want to link sentences into a compound to show that their ideas are equally important.

4. The linking word shows the relationship between the ideas:

and = the 2nd sentence contains the same type of idea
but = the 2nd sentence contains an equal but opposite idea
or = the 2nd sentence contains an equal choice
so = the 2nd sentence contains an equally important outcome or result

Questions or feedback about ESC's Online Writing Center? Contact us at Learning.Support@esc.edu.

Take the Next Step

Ready to advance your education and career? There’s no time like the present. Apply now, or learn more about SUNY Empire at one of our information sessions.