Coordinating conjunctions in compound sentences: Compound Sentences: Examples and How They’re Used

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Compound Sentences | Grammar | EnglishClub

We saw in sentence structure that a compound sentence is two (or more) independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction or semicolon. So a compound sentence is like two or more simple sentences added together. A compound sentence does not contain any dependent clauses.

  • I like coffee. Mary likes tea. → I like coffee, and Mary likes tea.
  • Mary went to work. John went to the party. I went home. → Mary went to work, but John went to the party, and I went home.
  • Our car broke down. We came last. → Our car broke down; we came last.

Joining Compound Sentences with Coordinating Conjunctions

Usually, we join independent clauses with one of the seven coordinating conjunctions.

The term coordinating conjunction sounds complicated, but in fact there are only seven of them and they are all short, one-syllable words: ForAndNorButOrYetSo — remember them with the mnemonic FANBOYS.

The most common of these coordinating conjunctions are and, but and or, in that order. Note that a comma (,) must come before the coordinating conjunction except when the clauses are short (in which case the comma is optional).


The and conjunction is the most common conjunction. It has several uses.

  • We use and to join two clauses that have equal value, for example: London is in England, and Rome is in Italy.
  • We use and to join two clauses when the second clause happens after the first clause, for example: There was a big bang and the lights went out.
  • We use and to join two clauses when the second clause is a result of the first clause, for example: He went to bed early, and the next day he felt better.


We use the but conjunction to introduce a clause that contrasts with the preceding clause, for example: Mary ran fast, but she couldn’t catch John.


We use the or conjunction to join two alternative clauses, for example: Will Mary go, or will John go?


We use the nor conjunction to join two alternative clauses when the first clause uses a negative such as neither or never. In this case both clauses are untrue or do not happen, for example: Mary never wrote the letter, nor did she call him. (Note the inversion of subject and auxiliary: did she.)


We use the for conjunction (meaning something like because) to join two clauses when the second clause is the reason for the first clause, for example: He felt cold, for it was snowing.


The yet conjunction is similar to but. It means something like but at the same time; but nevertheless; but in spite of this. As with but, there is a contrast between the clauses, for example: I have known him for a long time, yet I have never understood him.


The so conjunction means something like therefore; and for this reason. We use so to join two clauses when the first clause is the reason for the second clause, for example: He was feeling sick, so he went to the doctor.

Note that when using a coordinating conjunction, you can (if you wish) remove any subject word and modal auxiliary from the second clause. (This is not possible with subordinating conjunctions.)

  • He’s already had three beers, and now he wants another one.
    • He’s already had three beers and now wants another one.
  • You can take a train, or you can take a bus.
    • You can take a train or take a bus.

Joining Compound Sentences with Semicolons

Occasionally, we join independent clauses with a semicolon (;).

  • He studied very little; he failed his exams.
  • The sky is cloudy; it’s going to rain.
  • Ram cut the grass; Ati trimmed the hedge; Tara watched.

Joining Compound Sentences with Conjunctive Adverbs

We can also join independent clause with words and phrases like moreover, however, at least (conjunctive adverbs). In this case, the conjunctive adverb must be preceded by a semicolon (;) and followed by a comma (,).

Look at these examples:

  • John loves Mary; however, Mary doesn’t love John.
  • Salad is not expensive; moreover, it’s very healthy.
  • What he did was incredible; in fact, I can hardly believe it.
How to join independent clauses
comma + coordinating conjunction Independent clause , for
, and
, nor
, but
, or
, yet
, so
independent clause.
semicolon ;
semicolon + conjunctive adverb + comma ; moreover,
; however,
; indeed,
; therefore,
; at least,

The table shows all seven coordinating conjunctions, and a few conjunctive adverbs as examples.

Do not try to join independent clauses with a comma alone—that’s impossible!

  • John drank coffee. Mary drank tea.
  • John drank coffee, Mary drank tea.
  • John drank coffee, and Mary drank tea.
  • John drank coffee, but Mary drank tea.
  • John drank coffee; Mary drank tea.

Compound Sentence Examples

Now look at some more examples showing compound sentences and coordinating conjunctions or semicolons in context.

Compound Sentences with Coordinating Conjunctions

  • The cinema was sold out, so we watched a movie on TV.
  • I’ll have a week in Rome, or I’ll go to Paris for three days.
  • I really need a holiday, but I don’t have the money, and I don’t have the time.
  • He’s crazy! He doesn’t like the car, yet he bought it anyway.
  • It’s gone 10pm, and he still hasn’t arrived.
  • Our car broke down, so we took a taxi.
  • Our plane left Bangkok on schedule, and we arrived in London early.
  • I cannot criticize him, for he is my brother.
  • There are no eggs in the fridge, nor is there any bread in the cupboard.
  • I would have passed the exam, but I didn’t study enough.
  • Should they take the test now, or should they wait until next month?
  • I have never visited Moscow, nor have I been to St Petersburg.
  • The pain was really bad, yet he refused to see a doctor.

Compound Sentences with Semicolons

  • The Angel Falls waterfall in Venezuela plunges 907 metres; it looks spectacular.
  • The entire town was flooded; people used boats.
  • We always shop at the supermarket; it’s got everything in one place.
  • Call us next week; it should be in then.
  • You can pay online; we accept all major credit cards.
  • I only write non-fiction; I’ve never tried fiction.

Compound Sentences with Conjunctive Adverbs

  • Frantic is my favourite film; however, I’ve only seen it once.
  • He turned himself in to the police; otherwise, they would have arrested him.
  • He’s got a really good job; at least, that’s what he says.
  • He claimed he was working last night; however, nobody saw him at the office.

Compound Sentences in Famous Quotations

Here are some examples of compound sentences in quotes from famous people and sources.

  • «Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.» Laurence Binyon
  • «To be uncertain is uncomfortable; but to be certain is ridiculous.» Goethe
  • «For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt though return.» Bible
  • «Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.» Oscar Wilde
  • «The girl was beheaded, chopped into pieces and placed in a trunk, but was not interfered with.» British newspaper report
  • «I am just going outside and may be some time.» Captain Lawrence Oates
  • «I desire to go to Hell and not to Heaven.» Niccolo Machiavelli
  • «Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. » Lord Acton
  • «Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.» Erma Bombeck

Compound Sentences in Sayings

These compound sentence examples come from everyday sayings and proverbs in the English language.

  • Give a thief enough rope and he’ll hang himself.
  • There’s one law for the rich, and another for the poor.
  • A man is as old as he feels, and a woman is as old as she looks.
  • Money is a good servant, but a bad master.
  • Talk of the Devil, and he is bound to appear.
  • There is a time to speak and a time to be silent.
  • You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Contributor: Josef Essberger

Compound Sentence Examples to Better Understand Their Use


    man watching movie


    Kudryavtsev Pavel / iStock / Getty Images Plus


    Used under Getty Images license Compound Sentence Example

A compound sentence has at least two independent clauses that have related ideas. The independent clauses can be joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) or by a semicolon, as you can see in the compound sentence examples below.

Compound Sentences with Coordinating Conjunctions

Many compound sentences are made using coordinating conjunctions. To remember all the coordinating conjunctions, use the mnemonic FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). In this case, the sentence must contain a comma before the conjunction for correct punctuation. For example:

  • She did not cheat on the test, for it was the wrong thing to do.
  • I really need to go to work, but I am too sick to drive.
  • I am counting my calories, yet I really want dessert.
  • He ran out of money, so he had to stop playing poker.
  • They got there early, and they got really good seats.
  • They had no ice cream left at home, nor did they have money to go to the store.
  • Everyone was busy, so I went to the movie alone.
  • I thought the promotion was mine, but my attendance wasn’t good enough.
  • Should we start class now, or wait for everyone to get here?
  • It was getting dark, and we weren’t near the cabin yet.
  • Cats are good pets, for they are clean and are not noisy.
  • We have never been to Asia, nor have we visited Africa.
  • He didn’t want to go to the dentist, yet he went anyway.


Compound Sentences With a Semicolon

You can also combine two sentences into one without a conjunction. In this case, you must use a semicolon to join your two independent clauses. 

Examples of compound sentences with semicolons include:

  • The sky is clear; the stars are twinkling.
  • Joe made the sugar cookies; Susan decorated them.
  • The waves were crashing on the shore; it was a lovely sight.
  • Check back tomorrow; I will see if the book has arrived.
  • I am happy to take your donation; any amount will be greatly appreciated.
  • Malls are great places to shop; I can find everything I need under one roof.
  • Italy is my favorite country; I plan to spend two weeks there next year.
  • He turned in the research paper on Friday; he would have not passed the class otherwise.
  • She bought a cheeseburger for her friend; she forgot the fries.
  • He loved the dog; he gave it many treats.


Compound Sentences With Semicolons and Conjunctive Adverbs

To smooth the transition between clauses, use conjunctive adverbs (however, besides, therefore, meanwhile). Place these after the semicolon, and add a comma after the conjunctive adverb. Examples include:

  • It was a difficult assignment; however, Kelly was up to the challenge.
  • There were white-out conditions in the town; therefore, the roads were impassable.
  • He said he was not there yesterday; however, many people saw him there.
  • She only paints with bold colors; indeed, she does not like pastels at all.
  • She works two jobs to make ends meet; at least, that was her reason for not having time to join us.
  • You need to pack the appropriate things for camping; for example, a sleeping bag will keep you warm.
  • I have paid my dues; as a result, I expect to receive all the privileges listed in the bylaws.
  • He ate seven sandwiches for lunch; afterward, he felt ill.
  • Her knees ached from jogging; moreover, her shoes were starting to wear out.
  • His friends canceled dinner plans that night; on the other hand, he didn’t really want to go in the first place.



    Hiking Backpack With Compound Sentence Example


    Bag: gvardgraph / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Background: Tolchik / iStock / Getty Images Plus


    Used under Getty Images license

Examples of Compound Sentences in Quotes

Compound sentences are common in both speech and writing. Here are examples of compound sentences used by famous public figures:

  • «Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.» — Sam Rayburn
  • «The drought had lasted now for 10 million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended.» — Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • «In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” — Ronald Reagan
  • «I used to be snow white, but I drifted.» — Mae West
  • «I have often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can’t get my wife to go swimming.» — Jimmy Carter
  • «I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it.» — Gerald R. Ford
  • «I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don’t always agree with them.» — George H. W. Bush
  • «You can put wings on a pig, but you don’t make it an eagle.» — Bill Clinton


Constructing a Compound Sentence

Each half of a compound sentence must stand on its own as a complete sentence. That means each half needs a subject and a verb. For example:

I want the sporty red car, but I will lease the practical blue one.

In the sentence above, the subjects are italicized and the verbs are in bold. The first half is a complete sentence because it contains the subject «I» and the verb «want.» The second half that comes after the comma and coordinating conjunction (but) is also a complete sentence, with the subject «I» and the verb «will lease.»

Don’t Forget the Punctuation

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What sentences are called compound sentences and how not to get confused in their types of punctuation? We propose to deal with this topic together once and for all.

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What is a compound sentence

A compound sentence (CSP) is a sentence with two or more grammatical bases that are related in meaning, intonation and connected by coordinating conjunctions. The parts of this sentence can be divided by a dot into independent and simple. But it is impossible to single out the main and subordinate clauses among them.

Compound sentence example:

  • The beginning of July, but the plums are already ripe, and you can make jam.

It can be broken down into separate simple sentences:

Types of compound sentences

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9001 4 Types of unions in the SSP

Simple parts in a compound sentence can be connected by unions. Namely:

Let’s consider each type of unions in the BSC with examples.

Sentences with connecting conjunctions

Connecting conjunctions in a compound sentence — and, yes, neither … nor, also, also — indicate that the actions occurred simultaneously or one after another.


  • Apple trees were blooming and smelled of honey.

  • Low pears, but easy to get.

Sentences with opposing conjunctions

Opposite conjunctions in a compound sentence — a, but, yes (but), however, but — indicate opposition, comparison or concession.


  • I wanted a pie, but the apples weren’t ripe yet.

  • The summer was delayed, but the berries were already full of juice.

  • I arrived early, but no one was home.

Sentences with divisive conjunctions

Divisive conjunctions — either, then … then, not that … not that — indicate an alternation of actions.


  • Either a sweet berry will fall, or it will reduce the cheekbones from acid.

  • Either curb your fear or turn back.

  • Either cherries on a tree or red drops.

Sentences with a combination of unions

Sometimes several types of unions are combined in a compound sentence, for example:

  • Either there is little rain, and the berry has fallen, or the matter is completely different.

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Punctuation marks in the SSP

Comma in a compound sentence

A comma is needed between parts of a complex sentence with conjunctions and, yes, or , etc.


If the parts of a sentence have a common secondary member or a subordinate clause, but they are connected by a repeating union, a comma must be used.

  • Heavy trucks were moving along the streets, and cars were racing, and pedestrians were hurrying.

Allied proposals

If there are no unions in the sentence, its parts are connected with each other by punctuation marks:

  • comma,
  • semicolons,
  • colon,
  • dash.

Let’s consider each case of such BSCs with examples.

A comma in a non-union SSP

A comma in a compound non-union sentence is needed to show a list of objects or events.


  • The sky became clear, the stars were hidden behind a veil of morning clouds.

Semicolon in a compound sentence

If one of the parts of the SSP is a very common or complicated sentence, a semicolon must be put between these parts. Consider an example of such a complex syntactic construction:

  • Light dust rises in a yellow column and rushes along the road; a friendly clatter echoes far, the horses run with their ears pricked up.

Colon in non-union SSP

When one part of a compound sentence explains and completes the meaning of the first, it is customary to put a colon between them.


A dash in a compound sentence

If the meaning of the second part is sharply opposed to the meaning of the first, a dash can be put between them. For example:

An important role in the question of whether to put a dash between parts of a sentence with a coordinative connection is played by intonation. So, a dash can be used both in nominal sentences and in short syntactic constructions, if their tone requires it.


  • I hear a scream and suddenly there is silence.

  • Take a picture — and immediately to the newspaper!

Test yourself

Put punctuation marks in complex sentences:

  1. For six years the commission was fussing around the building, but the climate was in the way or the material was already like that, but the state-owned building did not go above the foundation.

  2. The forest is cut and the chips fly.

  3. I walked among the yellow-green sea and my soul was filled with peace.

  4. Everyone went home and I was left alone in silence.

  5. I would go to the fair but everyone has already left because of the bad weather.

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Compound Sentence

At an introductory lesson with a methodologist

  1. We will identify gaps in knowledge and give advice on learning

  2. We will tell you how the classes are going

  3. Let’s choose a course

Coordinating and subordinating conjunctions — Table with examples , only — these are all unions that make our speech more coherent.

By meaning, conjunctions are divided into two groups: coordinating and subordinating. Let’s tell you what their differences are.

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The concept of union

There are two types of syntactic connection between words and sentences — coordinating and subordinating.

Compositional connection unites equal parts. The composition connects parts of coordinating phrases (mom and dad) and compound sentences:

  • The thunder subsided, but the rain kept pouring and pouring.

The main means of communication in composing are coordinating conjunctions: and, a, but, yes, etc.

Subordinating connection combines the main (slave) and dependent (slave) parts. Usually, when submitting, you can ask a question from the main part to the dependent:

  • know (what?) literature;
  • I don’t know (what?) what will happen tomorrow.

Subordination connects parts of subordinating phrases and compound sentences.

Union is a service part of speech that connects homogeneous members in simple sentences, and in complex sentences it combines two or more simple ones.

By structure, unions are divided into simple and compound:

  • Simple unions consist of one word: and, but, but, yes, what, if, when.
  • Compound unions consist of two or more words: because, since, as if, because, due to the fact that, not only — but also, due to the fact that, since, until then.

There is one more category — allied words. These are relative pronouns that are used to connect simple sentences as part of a complex

Subordinating conjunctions

Allied words










as if,







as if,



in order to










Sometimes simple subordinating conjunctions coincide in spelling with allied words.

To distinguish a union from an allied word, you need to remember:

  1. Subordinating conjunctions cannot be members of a subordinate clause. They serve only to attach clauses to the main clause or another clause.

    Allied words are members of subordinate clauses and «attach» subordinate clauses to the main clause (or to another clause).

  2. In some cases, the union can be omitted. The union word cannot be omitted.

  3. Union can only be replaced by another union.

    An allied word can only be replaced by an allied word or by those words from the main clause to which the subordinate clause belongs.

Consider which unions are called coordinating and which are subordinating.

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Compositional conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions are conjunctions that connect homogeneous members in a simple sentence and simple sentences in compound sentences.


The terms “compound conjunctions” and “complex conjunctions” do not exist in Russian.

Groups of coordinating unions:

  • Connective — express the enumeration of objects, their features and qualities, simultaneity or sequence of action.
  • Opposite — reflect opposition or distinction.
  • Dividing — the value of separation, play the role of choice, alternation, exclusion.
  • Explanatory — express an explanation for what has been said.

To quickly remember which unions are called coordinating, we have compiled a table with examples for you.

Coordinating conjunctions






yes (in the meaning of and),




not only, but also,

not so much as,

not exactly, but,

not exactly, but

There were no mushrooms or berries in this forest.

Not only children, but also adults enjoy watching cartoons.

She had already entered the theatre, I was almost there too.

The brother was not so much upset as surprised at the father’s refusal.




this or that,

not that or that,

or — or

Take a cucumber or a tomato from the refrigerator.

I can’t decide: either I still have to learn, or it’s time to go on vacation.





however (in the meaning of but)

Masha was very fond of kiwi, but they made him allergic.

It was getting dark outside, but the girls had already returned.




The chef decided to go to Spain, namely to Barcelona.

Rule of coordinating conjunctions

Comma required

No comma required

If the homogeneous members of the sentence are connected by repeated connecting or separating unions

These words contained admiration, gratitude, and love

If the homogeneous members of the sentence are connected by a single connecting or dividing union

Hoarfrost quickly covered the windows of houses and shop windows.

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Subordinating conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are conjunctions that connect simple sentences as part of a complex sentence.


The term «complex subordinate unions» does not exist in Russian.

Groups of subordinating conjunctions:

  • Explanatory — indicate what they are talking about.
  • Temporary — indicate the time.
  • Causal — indicate the cause.
  • Target — indicate the target.
  • Conditional — indicates a condition.
  • Concessions — indicate the contradiction of one event to another.
  • Comparative — indicates a comparison.
  • Investigative — indicate the investigation.

To distinguish between subordinating conjunctions and learn how to use them, we compiled a table with examples:

Subordinate unions










We believed that one day he would do it.

She got up before dawn to get everything done.









When we arrived, lunch was already ready.

He had enough rest while sleeping.







The children stayed at home because of the cold weather.

The tree fell because there was a strong wind.







like that

The dog was so happy, as if he had not seen us for a week.

Snow was falling, as if fluff had been poured out of a pillow.


in order to,


in order to,

in order to

They got a cat to catch mice.

To be healthy, you need to eat right.







Take action if you have made a decision.

Everything will be when the time comes.

If you want it that way, then it will be so.


in spite of everything,

even though,


despite the fact that

I am happy, even if not forever.

He set off, although the centurion forbade him to leave the city.



because of this,


It was dark, so the lights were turned on.

It started to rain, because of this all plans were cancelled.

Insidious unions — be careful with them

  • As if — what union: coordinating or subordinating?

    Composing, from the group of explanatory.

  • Like a coordinating or subordinating conjunction?

    Composing, from the group of comparative.

  • Bye, which conjunction is subordinating or coordinating?

    Subordinating, from the temporary group.

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