Compound and Complex Sentences

 

A compound sentence joins at least two or more simple sentences in three different ways: with a semicolon: This quarter our sales rates are twice lower than those of the previous month; we have to reconsider our sales policy.

a co-ordinating conjunction: This quarter our sales rates are twice lower than those of the previous month, so we have to reconsider our sales policy.

an independent marker: This quarter our sales rates are twice lower than those of the previous month; therefore we have to reconsider our sales policy.

Link the simple sentences with a semicolon, if they convey closely related ideas: The article explains the reasons of unemployment in Asian countries; it focuses on the blunders of the government in social policy.

You can also join simple sentences using one of the seven co-ordinating conjunctions in English: for, and, nor, but , or, yet , so.

E.g.: They are already divorced, but they keep on communicating with each other.

If you join the sentences with the help of independent markers, place a semi-colon before the marker and a comma after it. Though the comma is not obligatory it is better to use it:

He is doing his best to get a promotion; however, his attempts are left unnoticed by the employer.

The table below illustrates how we can use a coordinating conjunction or an independent marker for building up a compound sentence.

Meaning Co-ordinating conjunctions Independent markers
adding , and ; also,
; besides,
; moreover,
; furthermore,
contrast,
difference
, but
, yet
; however,
; nevertheless,
; nonetheless,
consequence, conclusion , so ; accordingly,
; consequently,
; as a result,
; therefore,
Tip Recommended for formal writing to join shorter sentences. Recommended for formal writing to link longer sentences.

A complex sentence comprises one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses:

Because Jupiter has an enormous size and gravity [subordinate clause], the Galileo probe steadily gained velocity as it approached the planet [main clause].--"Halo Nuclei," Scientific American

As a rule the main idea of the whole sentence is expressed in the main clause. In contrast to a compound sentence the clauses of a complex sentence are not equal. We at once see which idea is more important.

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