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Using compound sentences


Techniques > Use of language > Syntax > Sentences > Using compound sentences

Method | Example | Discussion | See also



Use compound sentences to create complex communications, adding detail and richness to what otherwise would be a less informative simple sentence.

Compound sentences can be used to add rationale, to make a simple sentence more persuasive.

Compound sentences do not have to be complex. By keeping clauses simple, you can still keep the whole sentence simple.

Compound sentences can also be deliberately used to confuse by adding so much detail that the listener is unable to process it all.


I want to go to the opera. (simple sentence)

I want to go for a meal then go to the opera. (simple compound sentence)

I want to go to the opera so I can have a good evening out. (compound sentence that adds rationale)

You know, I really do want to go out one evening this week to see that rather nice opera Tosca, which I particularly enjoy and I know that you also enjoy, as it is finishing its run in Barton on Friday after a very successful series right across the country, and I would like to go for a really nice meal beforehand. (complex compound sentence).


A compound sentence is made up of multiple clauses, connected by links (generally conjunctions).

clause -- link -- clause

The cat sat on the mat as the dog ate dinner.

Compound sentences can have any length, although the more clauses it contains, the more difficult it is to understand. As the start of the sentence may still be relevant at the end, it requires a good feat of memory to hold onto the full meaning of a sentence, which can lead to people who read it becoming confused, although this may be a deliberate ploy by the person using the sentence as they may intend to cause that confusion in order that they can slip something past the listener's attention and hence get something accepted without challenge. Whew.

See also


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