Compound Sentence: What Is a Compound Sentence? Definition and Examples

By Carly Forsaith, updated on June 19, 2023

If you're curious about sentence types and would like to know what a compound sentence is, you've come to the right place. This article will teach you what you need to know to use them in your writing.

In short:

  • A compound sentence is two independent clauses joined together.

This guide is part of our free online Grammar Book.

What is a Compound Sentence?

English grammar has four different types of sentence structure:

  • simple
  • compound
  • complex
  • compound-complex

But firstly, what is a sentence?

A sentence is a set of words that comes together to create meaning. A sentence always has a subject (the thing doing the action), a predicate (describes the action), and at least one clause.

  • Only simple sentences have a single clause.
  • Compound sentences have two.
  • Specifically, they have two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) or a semicolon.

Here's an example of a simple sentence:

I wanted to go for a hike. 

Now let's add one more so that we have two simple sentences:

I wanted to go for a hike. Mary wanted to grab coffee in the park.

Let's try taking these two simple sentences and turning them into one compound sentence. Here's what that would look like:

I wanted to go for a hike but Mary wanted to grab coffee in the park.

In this example, we joined the two sentences with the coordinating conjunction 'but.' As I mentioned earlier, it also works if we join them with a semicolon:

I wanted to go for a hike; Mary wanted to grab coffee in the park.

As you can see, both clauses stand alone but are related to a common topic. And that's how compound sentences work.

Rules for Making a Compound Sentence

The first thing to know about compound sentences is that they contain no dependent clauses. A dependent clause needs an independent clause to support it, which is what complex sentences do.

Because of that, a compound sentence needs at least two subjects and two verbs. Sometimes the two subjects are the same, but they need to be reiterated.

I enjoy watching movies but I don't like action movies.


I enjoy watching movies; I don't like action movies.

The subject in both independent clauses is 'I,' and the two verbs are 'enjoy' and 'like.' We can say the exact same thing using just one subject and one verb, but as I just mentioned, that would be a complex sentence:

I enjoy watching movies but not action movies.

The second rule is not to try joining your two independent clauses with a comma. If you do, that's a common error known as a comma splice.

For example:

I enjoy watching movies, I don't like action movies. 

Examples of Compound Sentences

Now that we've covered the basics of a compound sentence and how to make one, let's look at some examples of compound sentences.

He walked into the room and I got goosebumps.

I know what I'll do; I'll go on a vacation

She needs to study more or she won't pass the exam.

Don't take him too seriously; he likes to joke around.

They keep making promises yet they haven't delievered on a single one.

It's a beautiful day; I'm heading to the beach!

I was hungry so I had lunch.

What Are the Other Sentence Structure Types?

As well as compound sentences, there are three other types of sentence structure:

  • Simple sentences: a single independent clause.
  • Complex sentences: at least one independent clause + at least one dependent clause.
  • Compound-complex sentences: at least two independent clauses + at least one dependent clause.

Concluding Thoughts

That concludes this article on compound sentences. I hope you found it helpful.

Let's summarize what we've learned:

  • A sentence consists of a subject, a predicate, and at least one clause.
  • A compound sentence is made up of two independent clauses (or two simple sentences).
  • You can connect the two clauses with either a coordinating conjunction or a semicolon.
  • At least two subjects and two verbs are required in any compound sentence.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like our Grammar Book. It's an online database full of grammar articles just like this one, including articles about other sentence structure types. Check it out!

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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