ENG 1101 English Composition I, section OL 0110


Review: So far you have been asked to write compound sentences, the ones with a comma
and a FANBOYS word (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). If written correctly, compound sentences
contain two independent clauses. Independent clauses are like whole sentences.

Now you are asked to write complex sentences, the ones that contain a subordinating
word: when, while, if, since, because, until (and many others), sentences that have two clauses
but only one clause is independent and the other is dependent, meaning the dependent clause
cannot stand alone but must be attached to the independent clause. It does not matter which
type of clause (independent or dependent) appears first in the sentence.

We are looking at the above sentence types in order to write better sentences to write better
paragraphs, the building blocks of essays and other forms of writing.

Please see this link:

New work: Many students are unsure about how to use semicolons (;). They can be used as
an alternative way to write a compound sentence without the comma/conjunction.

Typical compound sentence:
The dog was very happy, so he was wagging his whole body.

Alternate way with a semicolon:

The dog was very happy; he was wagging his whole body.

Both versions are correct, yet more readers probably prefer the one with ,so. It flows more
smoothly and frankly looks better. One reason why people do not prefer semicolons is perhaps
the association of them with errors since many students have made mistakes using semicolons
wrongly as mere commas, which they are not.

If you wrote the above with nothing between “happy” and “he,” you would have a run on.
If you wrote the above with a comma (just a comma), you would have a comma-splice.
RUN ONs and COMMA-SPLICEs are serious sentence structure errors, so knowing how to
connect your thoughts is important.