Compound Sentence Construction (Coordination)

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1 Compound Sentence Construction (Coordination) A compound sentence contains two or more independent clauses. Independent clauses can stand on their own as complete sentences. They contain a subject (noun and its modifiers) and a predicate (verb and its helpers). Example: Cathy baked her world-famous zucchini bread. Example: Shereen walked to the store. Each of these clauses is complete (they have a subject/verb pair) and can function as sentences on their own. Because they are both independent, they cannot be joined together without a comma and a coordinating conjunction. Both pieces must be present for the sentence to be correct. One way to remember the coordinating conjunctions is by using the acronym FANBOYS. For And Nor But Or Yet So When using one of these coordinating conjunctions, you must put a comma before it. Example: I wanted to be a banker, so I did an MBA. Example: The new Facebook update is the worst thing that has ever happened to me, but I will try to live through it. Each of the sections before and after the comma and coordinating conjunction could stand alone as its own sentence. This makes each section an independent clause. We join them together in the same sentence by using a comma and coordinating conjunction (but and so). 1

2 Complex Sentence Construction (Subordination) In complex sentences two clauses are joined, but the tricky part is that the clauses are not equal in importance. This means that in a complex sentence you join one independent clause, which could stand on its own as a sentence, and one dependent clause. Dependent clauses are just that: dependent. They cannot stand as their own sentence and depend on independent clauses. They are subordinate to the rest of the sentence. Example: Because this is incomplete. Example: After we finished our next class. Both of these are incomplete. Think about it this way if you just walked up to someone and said these sentences, they would have a lot of questions. Because this is incomplete, what will happen? What will happen after we finish our next class? They seem incomplete because they are dependent clauses. We know that these are dependent clauses because of the presence of dependent marker words. Some common dependent markers, or subordinating words, are a follows: after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, since, though, unless, until, whatever, when, whenever, whether, while. Two clauses can be linked when one of the clauses is subordinate to the other. Example: While the new Facebook update is the worst thing that has ever happened to me, I will try to live through it. The rule to remember with dependent clauses is that if the dependent clause comes first, as in the example above, then it must be followed by a comma. When the dependent clause comes second, then no comma is needed. The exception is if the dependent clause is a contrasting element, an afterthought, or a nonessential clause. 2

3 Example: I will try to live through the new Facebook update even though it is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. Compound and Complex Sentence Practice Look through this list and separate dependent and independent clauses as needed. You may either insert commas and coordinating conjunctions where necessary or remove/add subordinating words. If a sentence is correct, leave it. 1. If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong. 2. I have a fear of bears I often have nightmares about them. 3. Popeye is a sailor he gets his energy from spinach. 4. When the student handed in her summary she sighed a huge sigh of relief. 5. After he said he had tiger blood Charlie Sheen s career took an interesting turn. 6. He thinks Jersey Shore is the best show on television she thinks he is very wrong. 7. Grammar has never been my strong suit I should really study for my next quiz. 8. I wanted to try scuba diving until I saw the movie Open Water. 9. The weather this spring is terribly unpredictable even though the weather channel keeps telling me it will be warm. 10. The sun has finally come out maybe this summer won t be so bad after all. 11. If you re going in that direction anyway could you drop this off for me? 12. Because you took Head Start you will have a better sense of how clauses work. 13. Even though it is only 9 o clock I think I m going to go to sleep. 3

4 14. I will discuss your essay with you further you will have an appointment to ask me questions. 15. I dropped my iphone in the toilet it is time to get a new phone. Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Pronouns take the place of another noun or pronoun. The antecedent is a word that the pronoun represents. Example: Boris brought his briefcase on the train. Here his is the pronoun, and it refers back to the antecedent Boris. A pronoun must agree with the antecedent in number; a singular pronoun must replace a singular antecedent, and a plural pronoun must replace a plural antecedent. Consider this common mistake: Incorrect: The student knows they are the brains behind the operation. The student is a singular antecedent, and they is a plural pronoun. If it is unclear whether to use he or she in a sentence, use he or she. Correct: The student knows he or she is the brains behind the operation. Further, they must agree in person. Example: When a person bakes a cake, you must always let it rest before icing it. In the example above, a person is in the third person, while you is in the second person. Example: When a person bakes a cake, he or she must always let it rest before icing it. 4

5 Pronoun-Antecedent Practice Instructions Read the following sentences and edit any problems with pronoun-antecedent agreement that you see. 1. The jury wanted to take their lunch break. 2. Each of these toys is in their original packaging. 3. Every student needs to study their books. 4. The study group wants their members to pull their own weight. 5. If any of the brothers comes for dinner, they will have to sit by the window. 5

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