Type 3 – Compound sentences
A compound sentence is one in which there are two or more control units (simple sentences).
You cannot join control units with a comma alone; you must use either a comma plus a conjunction or a semicolon. If you join control units with a comma, you have made an error called a ‘comma splice’.
Comma plus conjuction
Independent control units can be linked by the following conjunctions, preceded by a comma: ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘for’, ‘nor’, ‘since’, ‘so’, ‘yet’. In the following examples, the control units are highlighted in orange.
In Example 1, the first statement, that ‘she did well in her examination‘ is caused by the fact stated in the second statement, that ‘she is a good student’ : the conjunction ‘for’ indicates causality In Example 2, the conjunction ‘yet’ indicates a contradiction between the first statement, that ‘he worked hard’, and the second statement, that ‘he did not achieve high marks’.
Note that the ‘and’ in Example 4 has a comma before it because it functions as a conjunction joining control units. It does not have a comma before it when it is joining words or phrases.
An alternative way of joining independent control units (simple sentences) is to use a semicolon.
The semicolon is particularly useful in academic writing because it allows you to convey more subtle connections between statements than can be expressed by conjunctions.
|Example 1||The cultural aspects of presage are not simplycognitive acquisitions;they are, in fact, essentialelements in the construction of subjectivity andsense of self (Dawson, 2003, p.42).|
|Example 2||In the Cultural Discussion, Chinese culture wasposed as incommensurable with Western culture; toaffirm Chinese culture was to affirm a differentmodernity (Chang, 2002, p.73).|
The following sentences are correct:
The following sentences are incorrect:
|Fred was a conscientious worker, Harry was lazy.|
|Fred was a conscientious worker, however, Harry was lazy.|
( These are comma splices and are incorrect ).
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