English Compound Sentences

English Compound Sentences
Let us now look at how to join two simple sentences of the same value (Independent
Clauses). An independent clause is a group of words that stand as a sentence.

Examples of Independent Clauses:

I like to read.
Terri should go home now.
America is at war with Iraq.

Coordination is the act of combining two independent clauses. There are three
methods of doing this.

Method One:
Independent Clause + Comma + Coordinating + Independent Clause

Example: I spent all my savings, so I can’t go to Spain this summer.

I spent all my savings, so I can’t go to Spain this summer.
I spent all my savings, so I can’t go to Spain this summer.

In the above example, so is the coordinating conjunction. The coordinating conjunction
establishes a relationship between the two clauses. In this case, the conjunction so
shows that the second sentence is a result of the first.
You will want to memorize the seven coordinating conjunctions and their meanings. To
make this easier, remember the acronym FANBOYS. Each letter stands for a different
conjunction. Here is a list of the fanboys and the relationship that each establishes
between two sentences.
Coordinating Conjunctions Examples
For shows reason. ……………….I like to read mystery novels, for I love suspense.
And shows addition. ………………She goes to the beach, and she takes her dog.
Nor adds a negative………………. I don’t like garlic, nor do I like onions.
(Note that the verb is placed before the subject in the second sentence).
But shows opposition. ………………He won’t get into the concert, but he can try.
Or shows an alternative. ………………I will take my kids to a movie, or I will stay home.
Yet shows exception. ………………I want to lose weight, yet I eat chocolate daily.
So shows a result. ………………I will study the fanboys, so I can impress my LIA.


Practice Using Coordinating Conjunctions
Read the following explanation of critical thinking. Then complete the exercise below.

What is Critical Thinking? (*)

Can you evaluate what you read and justify what you believe? If so, you are thinking critically. Deliberating in a purposeful, organized manner in order to assess the value of information, both old and new, is critical thinking. Critical readers and thinkers . . . do not accept the idea that “If it’s in print, it must be true.” They do not immediately accept the thinking of others. Rather, they think for themselves, analyze different aspects of written material in their search for truth, and
then decide how accurate and relevant the printed words are. Critical thinkers build on previous knowledge. . . to forge new relationships. They recognize both sides of an issue and evaluate the reasons and evidence in support of each.

Overcome Barriers to Critical Thinking

Allow yourself to think critically, to be challenged, and to change. Recognize and avoid the following barriers to your own critical thinking:

1. Existing Beliefs—Do you refuse to consider or immediately reject ideas outside of your belief system? We are culturally conditioned to resist change and feel that our own way is best.
2. Wishful Thinking—Do you talk yourself into believing things that you know are not true because you want them to be true? At times we engage in self-denial.
3. Hasty Moral Judgments—Do you tend to evaluate someone or something as good or bad, right or wrong, and remain fixed in this thinking?
4. Reliance on Authority—Do you think for yourself? Many people let the government, the church, doctors, religious leaders, and teachers do their thinking for them.
5. Labels—Do you ignore individual differences and lump people and things into categories? Labels oversimplify, distort the truth, stereotype, and usually incite anger and rejection.

Each sentence below is followed by a coordinating conjunction. Add an independent
clause that would make sense, keeping in mind the relationship between clauses.
1. Samuel seldom thinks for himself, so _____________________________________.
2. I don’t believe everything I read, for ______________________________________.
3. My mother follows her horoscope, but ____________________________________.
4. The media often exaggerates events, and _________________________________.
5. The teacher is not always right, nor ______________________________________.
6. I didn’t like the first class, yet ___________________________________________.
7. I can believe everything I hear, or _______________________________________.
8. I used to think all lawyers were greedy, but ________________________________.


 (*) Smith, Brenda D. The Reader’s Handbook. New York: Longman, 2001. 123-124.