Once you have mastered the basics of correct usage in written English, you will want to express yourself in increasingly complex ways. You can combine independent clauses by using sentence connectors (coordination/grammatical term). This results in a compound sentence that can improve the formality and sophistication of your writing style. Coordination techniques for writing compound sentences are:
- Use a comma + a coordinating conjunction
- Use a semicolon + a conjunctive adverb + a comma
- Use a semicolon
Coordinating conjunctions are used in compound sentences. Remember them as ‘A.B.Fonsy’—and, but, for (meaning because), or, nor, so, yet. Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction when you are writing a compound sentence.
These relationships are as follows:
|Coordinating conjunction||Relationship indicated|
|and||to add an idea|
|but||to contrast two opposing ideas|
|for||to introduce a reason|
|or||alternative, to show a choice|
|nor*||to add an idea when the first clause is in the negative|
|so||to introduce a result|
|yet||to contrast two opposing ideas|
The coordinating conjunction works with other words such as
|Coordinating conjunction / pair||Indicating|
|either … or||alternative, to show a choice|
|neither … nor*||to add an idea when the first clause is in the negative|
|not only … but also||to add an idea|
Note: ‘Not only … but also’ should be used sparingly. Use it when you want to add emphasis.
Conjunctive adverbs are also used in compound sentences. These conjunctions have a similar meaning to ‘A.B.Fonsy’ conjunctions, but can sound more formal and give greater emphasis to your reasoning or argument. Use a semi-colon (;) before and a comma (,) after a conjunctive adverb when you are writing a compound sentence.
|Using conjunctive adverbs in compound sentences||Meaning|
|furthermore, besides, moreover, also, in addition||to add an idea|
|however, nevertheless, still, nonetheless, conversely, otherwise, instead, in contrast, on the other hand||to contrast two opposing ideas|
|otherwise, instead, on the other hand||alternative, to show a choice|
|consequently, therefore, thus, accordingly, hence, as a result, for this reason||to introduce a result|
|likewise, similarly, in the same way||to show likeness, compare|
|indeed, in fact, for example, in particular||to give emphasis, explain, restate, to give an example|
|meanwhile, subsequently, then, afterwards, earlier, later||to show time order|
The following are all compound sentences:
The immediate effects of HECS fees on students are well documented; however, long-term effects have yet to be considered.
Many argued that higher education gives life and career opportunities to a select group in society; therefore, HECS fees were justified.
Paying HECS fees upfront means that students begin work without a HECS debt; moreover, upfront payments attract a 20 percent discount.
Most Australian students who study at university are Commonwealth supported students; consequently, they have some of the cost of their education paid by the government.
Many argue for the right to free education; otherwise, they consider that higher education fees should at least be means tested.
A semicolon can be used to combine independent clauses to make a compound sentence. However, this technique may only be used if both clauses have similar grammatical structure or have closely related ideas.
Yes, you can use a semicolon to join these sentences:
The students objected to paying university fees; they felt that it inhibited their future economical prospects.
No, you cannot use a semicolon to join these sentences:
INCORRECT: The students objected to paying university fees;
it was thought that the government was concerned with revenue raising when it implemented these policies.
CORRECT: The students objected to paying university fees. It was thought that the government was concerned with revenue raising when it implemented these policies.
CORRECT: The students objected to paying university fees ; in fact, it was thought that the government was concerned with revenue raising when it implemented these policies.