How to Write Compound Sentences


Compound sentences are two simple sentences, or independent clauses, that are joined together to make a longer sentence. If your writing is filled with short sentences, you can create variety in your paragraphs by combining ideas with a coordinating conjunction, semicolon, conjunctive adverb or transitional phrase. Compound sentences, used judiciously, can improve the flow of your writing and help your audience better understand what you're trying to communicate.

  • Add a coordinating conjunction to join two simple sentences. A coordinating conjunction shows how and why ideas are connected. The most commonly used are and, but, for, or, nor, so and yet. Place a comma before the coordinating conjunction when making a compound sentence. For example, combining these two sentences requires a conjunction to help hold them together: Walking is good exercise. You need to stretch your muscles before you go. Add the coordinating conjunction "but" along with a comma before it, to create a compound sentence: Walking is good exercise, but you need to stretch your muscles before you go.

  • Use a semicolon to form a compound sentence. While a coordinating conjunction, such as "and" or "so" could be used when ideas are closely linked, a semicolon may help a sentence flow better: My dad is addicted to junk food; he eats it every day.

  • Make a compound sentence by using a conjunctive adverb such as also, besides, finally, later, then, however and instead. Conjunctive adverbs have a semicolon before them, and a comma after. For example: I have a lot to do today; also, I have a lot on my mind.

  • Use a transitional expression to form a compound sentence. Some examples of transitional expressions are after all, for example, in other words and as a result. As with conjunctive adverbs, place a semicolon before the transitional expression: Compound sentences can improve the flow of your writing; for example, this sentence is a compound sentence.

Tips & Warnings

  • Memorize frequently used coordinating conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs and transitional expressions. Practice writing compound sentences over and over again.
  • Use the correct words and punctuation to combine simple sentences, or you may inadvertently create run-on sentences or comma splices.


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