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Combining Sentences


Both independent and dependent clauses are groups of words that contain a subject and a verb. The difference is that an independent clause expresses a complete thought and a dependent clause does not. So, an independent clause can stand alone as a sentence.

There are four different sentence structures: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex.

  1. Simple: one independent clause.
  • Lisa is my neighbor.
  1. Compound: two or more independent clauses.
  • Lisa is my neighbor, and she is my friend.
  1. Complex: one independent clause, one or more dependent clauses.
  • I am her friend because she is adorable.
  1. Compound-complex: two or more independent clauses, one or more dependent clauses.
  • I am her friend because she is adorable, so we are always together.

We are going to work with the two first ones: SIMPLE and COMPOUND. We can combine two independent clauses using a period, a semicolon, or coordinating conjunctions. It is necessary to do it so you can avoid run-on sentences.

  • Period: We have a new student. He is from Italy.

  • Semicolon: We have a new student; he is from Italy.

  • Coordinating conjunction: We have a new student, and he is from Italy.

A coordinating conjunction is a word that joins two elements: two verbs, two adjectives, two phrases, two independent clauses, and so on. They are used to make the ideas sound more fluent.

When using them to join two independent clauses, use a comma before the conjunction. It is easier to remember all the coordinating conjunctions with the acronym FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So).

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