How To Use a Comma in a Compound Sentence

It is difficult to know when and how to use a commas.A compound sentence consists of joining two independent clauses and is one of the most common ways a comma is used.If you know where one independent clause ends and the next begins, you can easily identify where a comma should be placed.

Step 1: A complete thought can be written using both a subject and a verbs.

An independent clause is a group of words that form a complete thought.In this example, “mom makes me breakfast before school” is the subject.It forms a complete thought.

Step 2: Write a second thought that is related to the first.

Your first independent clause should relate to your second one.The nature of the relation will determine which coordinating conjunction is used to connect the two thoughts.The word “and” is used to connect the two thoughts if the second thought follows the first.The word “but” is used to connect the two thoughts if the second thought is different from the first.

Step 3: The two independent clauses must be connected.

You will need to connect your two independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction to form a compound sentence.There are seven commonly used words.It includes: and, but, yet, nor, for, so.An acronym is one of the easiest ways to remember the coordinating conjunctions.The most common acronym is FANBOYS (F-for, A-and, N-nor, B-but, O-or, Y-yet, S-so).Mom makes me breakfast, but I don’t have enough time to eat it.

Step 4: The coordinating conjunction should be preceded by a comma.

A separator is used to add clarity.When connecting two independent clauses, you want to make sure your readers know the two are related.For example, “I want to play with my friends but I have to finish my homework first.”The first letter of your second independent clause should be capitalized.Keeping the “I” capitalized is a proper pronoun in the above example.One example would be, “I want to go the park by myself, but little sister wants to come with me.”

Step 5: There is a compound sentence.

Use a coordinating conjunction and a comma to join two independent clauses.She loves swimming and soccer.

Step 6: There is a dependent clause.

A dependent clause does not form a complete thought because it begins with a subordinating word.If you want to connect the two, make sure the dependent clause still relates to your compound sentence.”Because she grew up playing multiple sports” is not a complete sentence.

Step 7: A compound sentence and dependent clause can be connected.

The dependent clause can be used to connect the two to form a complex compound sentence.She loves soccer and swimming because she grew up playing multiple sports.

Step 8: It is a good idea to use a comma before the conjunction.

When forming a compound sentence, make sure the comma is placed before the coordinating conjunction and not after it.Jack would rather be fishing.

Step 9: It’s a good idea to avoid a splice.

When you use two independent clauses without using a coordinating conjunction, there is a comma splice.Jack would rather be fishing, he is at work.Two complete sentences should have been formed using the two independent clauses.Jack would rather be fishing than at work.Jack would rather be fishing, but he is at work.

Step 10: The dependent clause comes first.

If the dependent clause is before the compound sentence, you can use a comma.The dependent clause isn’t needed if it comes after a comma.If the complex compound sentence was, “mom makes me breakfast before school, but I don’t have enough time to eat it,” you would not use a comma.