How To Write Correct Sentences: Part 4-Compound-Complex Sentences

Have you ever read a sentence that seems to go on for pages and pages, yet it is entirely grammatically correct? Writers who understand how parts of sentences fit together gain the freedom to be able to construct ridiculous syntactical wonders like that. Of course, you don’t want to write like that all the time–Simple Sentences can be just as impressive if used correctly–but it’s nice to know how to do it when you need it.

Once you know how to create Simple Sentences, Compound Sentences, and Complex Sentences, you can combine the elements in these sentences to create longer, more intricate and elaborate sentences.  These are the types of sentences that can really wow your reader if you use them right–we’re talkin’ A+, college level writing that makes a person sound all smart and fancy.

Because Compound-Complex sentences are pretty much just pieces of other types of sentences that have been combined in different ways, there is practically an infinite number of ways to make them, so we’ll just show you a couple of examples.

1. Subordinating Conjunction+ Independent Clause(,) Independent Clause(,) Coordinating Conjunction+ Independent Clause(.)

Because I need an example here, I will fill in the blanks with random stuff, and then I will go back and put in real information.

Since I missed most of the movie, I decided to see it again, but this time I didn’t get the extra large soda.

2.  Independent Clause(,) Coordinating Conjunction+ Independent Clause+ Subordinating Conjunction+ Independent Clause(.)

The dog in the movie signed a million dollar contract, but the deal was worth it since the negotiations were rough.

I’ve been too lazy to get my learner’s permit, so I won’t be getting my license until I have more drive.

There are many ways to make sentences (besides just making bad jokes), but don’t get too worried about it; as long as you follow the basic rules for Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences, then the Compound-Complex Sentences you write should turn out fine.  However, if you still have some questions, feel free to send us a comment or email.  We’ll try to post the question and any answers we can provide.

Until next time.

-The SDA Writing Lab

How to Write Correct Sentences: Part 3-Complex Sentences

If you haven’t noticed yet, all these different sentence types are just building off of the ‘simple sentence’ form.  Simple sentences are made up of independent clauses (subject+verb (someone/something doing an action). New types of sentences are made when you join one independent clause up with another…and another…and another…etc.  There are different ways of joining these independent clauses together, but every sentence is essentially just independent clauses joined together in different ways.  There are also things called dependent clauses that attach to independent clauses.  We’ll get to those soon enough.

Complex sentences have something called a subordinating conjunction.  These conjunctions (words that join or connect parts of sentences) create a relationship between two independent clauses, making one independent clause the ‘subordinate’ of another, so to speak.  That means that the subordinating conjunction is telling you how one part of the sentence is related to the other.  Subordinating conjunctions include words like the following: after, although, as, because, before, if, since, though, unless, until, when, while…etc.

Ready for examples?

1.  Subordinating Conjunction+ Independent Clause(,) Independent Clause(.)

Because I ate a whole pizza, I have a stomach ache.

After I use the internet all day, my eyes cry out for rest.

Until it is daylight, we won’t drive through Vampireville.

Master of True Awesomeness

2.  Independent Clause+ Subordinating Conjunction+ Independent Clause(.)

We will leave the show after the dog jumps through the ring of hot dogs.

I like to jog because jogging makes me a better ninja.

I’ve canceled my gym membership since I had to walk there.

Growing Pains of Scientific Progress

To summarize, Complex Sentences are created when two or more Independent Clauses(someone/something doing something) are joined by a Subordinating Conjunction (word making one independent clause related to the other).  Any questions?

-the SDA Writing Lab

How To Write Correct Sentences: Part 2-Compound Sentences

Okay, we’re back with another post on sentence structure.  This one is going to be a little longer.  Let’s see if we’re up for it.

Ready…Set…LEARNSENTENCESTRUCTURE!!!

Compound Sentences
The Quasi-Exciting Science of Sentences!

Compound sentences are made when you combine two independent clauses (those simple sentence, subject+verb things from last time).  The word ‘compound’ can be defined as meaning “made of two or more parts.”  So a compound sentence is made of two simple sentences being joined together.  You can combine two simple sentences (or independent clauses–they’re pretty much the same thing at this point) in three different ways.

Way #1-  Independent Clause(,) Coordinating Conjunction +Independent Clause(.)

A coordinating conjunction is a word, such as and, but, or, so, for, yet, and nor, that allows you to combine two otherwise separate sentences.  That’s it.  Those are your seven coordinating conjunctions.

Here are some examples:

I like cake, and I will eat it.

My dog is named Cake, but please don’t eat him.

I don’t normally eat pets, yet my stomach groans for nourishment.

Piece of cake, right?

The Writing Narwhal Stalks Its Prey

Way #2-  Independent Clause(;) Transitional Expression(,) Independent Clause(.)

Transitional expression: These are words like therefore, nevertheless, however, as a result and so on.  They show a connection between the first sentence and the next one.  There are a bunch of these, and I probably couldn’t think of them all if I had all three-day weekend to do so.  Which I don’t.  I have stuff to do.  But you don’t need to know every single transitional expression to write a proper sentence as long as you get the general idea.

To put the same general idea in another form:

Subject +Verb(semicolon) Transitional Expression(comma) Subject +Verb.

Is this getting technical and boring, or what?  Well, if you learn it and can use it properly, I promise we’ll never talk about it again.  It will be one of those “it-which-shall-not-be-named” kinds of situations.  Let’s look at some examples:

I like cake; therefore, I will eat it.

You sure do like cake; nevertheless, I must forbid you from eating it.

I am a cake-powered robot; however, I can also run on ice cream.

Why is it so angry?

Way #3-  Independent Clause (;) Independent Clause(.)

Okay, this one is pretty simple.  You just use a semicolon to join two complete sentences that are related instead of using a period to separate them.  The semicolon indicates to the reader that the sentence after the semicolon has something to do with the sentence before it.  So why are semicolons so difficult to use?  Usually, it’s because people use them more than is necessary.  Because semicolons aren’t used as much as other types of punctuation, they are more noticeable in a sentence when they are finally used.  If you throw a lot of semicolons into a sentence, people will definitely notice; they’ll think it’s weird.  They’ll think you’re weird.  Don’t be a semicolon weirdo.

Examples:

It must be lunch time; you won’t stop talking about cake.

I don’t think we need another example; one is enough.

Compound Sentences #3
The sinister Dr. Baron Count Semicolon Strikes Again

Got it?

To recap, you can combine two simple sentences to make a compound sentences by using one of the following formats:

  1. Independent Clause(,) Coordinating Conjunction +Independent Clause(.)
  2. Independent Clause(;) Transitional Expression(,) Independent Clause(.)
  3. Independent Clause (;) Independent Clause(.)

We’ll follow up this post with the next type of sentence: the Complex Sentence (how exciting, right?)  As always, feel free to ask questions in the comments section.  We’ll do our best to answer them.  (To help prevent spam, all comments must be reviewed by the Lab before they will show up in the comments section, so there’s no need to stress if you send a comment and it doesn’t show up instantly.  Please give us a day or two to filter through them, or send us an email at **sdawritinglab(at)gmail.com**)

Thanks for reading!

Your always-grateful SDA Writing Lab