Dec 1st 2019
Compound Sentence Definition
A compound sentence is a sentence that has two or more independent clauses that express related ideas. To make a compound sentence, the two independent clauses are usually connected using a semicolon or a coordinating conjunction (words like for, and, but, yet, so, nor, or).
Compound Sentence Examples
Let’s look at an example of a compound sentence and break down its elements:
- Bill went to New York City, but David travelled to Philadelphia.
As you can see, the sentence is composed of two independent clauses “Bill went to New York City” and “David travelled to Philadelphia”, which are connected by the coordinating conjunction “but”.
Some more compound sentence examples:
- We are tired, yet it’s too early to go to bed.
- I think you would be happy here, but you would be happy at home, too.
- Dad is cranky this morning; he hasn’t had his coffee yet.
- The lieutenant stood silently, for he was ever prepared for battle.
- Jenny is very adept at science, and she will go to a top university to study biology.
- You can take that scone with the blueberries, or you can have the one over there.
- My knees are stiff; old age is catching up with me.
Compound Sentences with Coordinating Conjunctions
The use of a coordinating conjunction is one of the main ways to link the independent clauses of a compound sentence. There are seven coordinating conjunctions, which can be remembered by the mnemonic FANBOYS – for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so.
Coordinating conjunctions play an important role in a compound sentence because they link the two independent clauses and help writing flow better. Consider these examples:
- They are frightened. They have resolved to continue their journey.
Taking those two sentences and using the coordinating conjunction yet to form a compound sentence helps the reader better understand the meaning of the two clauses and the relationship between them, not to mention helping the sentence flow a bit more smoothly.
- They are frightened, yet they have resolved to continue their journey.
But could also be used to connect the two clauses, help the reader and create a smoother sentence.
- They are frightened, but they have resolved to continue their journey.
Compound Sentences with a Semicolon
Like a coordinating conjunction, a semicolon is used to link two independent clauses that are related. The use of semicolons is often debated as a matter of style in literature and journalism but using them correctly can make your writing look more accomplished and elegant.
Look at this example:
- My dog Snickers is beautiful; he has gorgeous eyes and looks like he is always smiling.
Subtly, the semicolon does a lot of work in this sentence. Without stating it overtly, the semicolon tells the reader that there is a link between the dog’s beauty and the parts of its face being described in the second clause. We could rewrite the sentence this way:
- My dog Snickers is beautiful, and he has gorgeous eyes and looks like he is always smiling.
The second example is a perfectly viable compound sentence, and it has almost the same meaning as the first. Yet, one would argue that the semicolon in the first example does a better job of linking the clauses together and creating a smoother flow. It’s like saying the gorgeous eyes and smiling face are part of the dog’s beauty, whereas those qualities in the second example may or may not be the reason the dog is considered beautiful.
Compound Sentences in Quotes
Here are some examples of famous quotes that are also compound sentences:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Bruce Lee
“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” Voltaire
“My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.” Coco Chanel
“Never will the world know all it owes to them, nor all they have suffered to enrich us.” Marcel Proust
“I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.” Alice (Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland)
Compound vs. Complex Sentences
You should not confuse a compound sentence with a complex sentence. The former is composed of two independent clauses, i.e. a clause that could be a complete sentence on its own, and the latter is composed of an independent clause and dependent clause.
- Because he was running fast, he was panting hard.
The above is an example of a complex sentence. We can tell the difference between a complex sentence and a compound sentence because the complex sentence has a dependent clause. A dependent clause – in this case, “because he was running fast” – is not a complete thought, i.e. the phrase does not make sense as a complete sentence on its own and needs additional information.
We could rewrite the sentence to make it a compound sentence:
- He was running fast, and he was panting hard.
“He was running fast” and “he was panting hard” are both independent clauses, i.e. they make sense on their own. Therefore, the compound sentence is created by linking the two clauses together using the coordinating conjunction “and”.
Some more examples of complex vs compound sentences:
- She sent back the meal after she noticed it was cold. (complex sentence)
- She sent back the meal, for she realized she wasn’t hungry now. (compound sentence)
- Although Jim was successful in business, he was still lonely. (complex)
- Jim was successful in business, but he was still lonely. (compound)
- I will either succeed or fail; these are the only two options for me. (compound)
- Whether I succeed or fail, I will give it my best shot. (complex)
Nov 28th 2019
Anyone learning about language will be aware that words perform different functions in a piece of writing. In English, we refer to the “Eight Parts of Speech”, i.e. the eight types of words that broadly cover all parts of language. Knowing the differences will help you be able to use words correctly and create interesting writing.
Consider this sentence:
- “Wow! Her rude boyfriend talked constantly on his phone and coughed loudly during the performance.”
The example above contains all eight parts of speech. They are listed below:
Noun(s) = boyfriend, phone, performance
Pronoun(s) = her, his
Verb(s) = talked, coughed
Adjective = rude, the (article)
Preposition(s) = on, during, with
Adverb(s) = loudly, constantly
Interjection = wow
Conjunction = and
The eight parts of speech all have their individual functions in a sentence, helping us better understand the meaning and context of language. Below we will discuss all eight parts of speech separately, giving original examples for each.
A noun is the name of a person, place, thing or idea. In simple terms, we can refer to a noun as a naming word.
- John left the house early that morning.
We also break nouns down nouns into two main categories, proper nouns and common nouns. A proper noun, which generally is the name of someone or something, like John, Chicago or Mount Rushmore, is always capitalized regardless of where it appears in a sentence. Common nouns, such as dogs, college or football, are only capitalized if they begin a sentence. Remember that nouns can be singular or plural, and they will take an apostrophe to show possession.
Some more examples of nouns in sentences:
- Science and geography are Mike’s favourite subjects.
- The president will visit France on Tuesday.
Pronouns are used to replace nouns. We do this to avoid repetition, but also to indicate things like possession.
- Mandy took her dog for a walk, but it barked the whole time.
In the example above, the pronoun her replaces the noun Mandy and it replaces the noun dog.
There are several categories of pronouns: Personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, relative pronouns, reflexive pronouns and demonstrative pronouns.
Some more examples of pronouns in sentences:
- If you leave now, only James and I will remain behind.
- Their feet ached more than ours.
A verb is a word that expresses an action, feeling or state of being.
- We sang songs, danced all night, and by the morning had fallen in love.
In the above example, sang, danced and had fallen are the verbs of the sentence. As they are verbs, they must have agreement with the subject, in this case we, and they must demonstrate tense, in this case the past tense.
More examples of verbs in sentences:
- Can you bring me something from the kitchen? I am
- They will decide later, or they might not decide at all. Who knows?
An adjective is a word used to modify or describe a noun or pronoun.
- Jenna has blue eyes, and her hair is soft and long.
You can usually spot an adjective because it will be placed before the noun it is describing, such as blue describing the color of Jenna’s eyes in the example above. However, adjectives can also act as a complement to a linking verb or the verb to be, such as the adjectives soft and long in the example above. The articles the, a and an are also considered adjectives.
More examples of adjectives in sentences:
- Bring me the little spotted dog, or a large golden
- The best days of my life were my teenage years.
An adverb is a word used to modify or describe a verb, adjective or a sentence.
- We walked quietly down the hallway.
In the above example the adverb quietly is modifying or describing the verb walked, i.e. telling the reader that the action of walking was carried out in a certain way. We often recognize adverbs by the fact they end in ly, but some adverbs look exactly the same as adjectives. Fast, for instance, can be both an adverb and an adjective.
More examples of adverbs in sentences
- He spoke fast and licked his lips incessantly.
- They reacted angrily to the very long list of demands.
Prepositions are used to indicate relationships between nouns, phrases or pronouns to other words in a sentence. They are the words that help weld a sentence together, by expressing time, position, distance etc.
- The man in the overalls is standing on the roof.
Prepositions are often small words like on, at, for, to and in. They are generally followed by nouns and pronouns, but, as is often the case in English, there are some exceptions.
More examples of prepositions in sentences:
- He must arrive before sunset, because we close the gate at
- I was born in 1983; three years after my brother.
Like prepositions, conjunctions tend to glue a sentence together. They do this by acting as linking words between words, phrases and clauses.
- We are hungry, but we don’t have time to eat.
The two main types of conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions (words like but, so, for, and), which act to connect two independent clauses with equal grammatical weight, and subordinating conjunctions (words like although, because, since), which connect independent and dependent clauses that are not equal.
More examples of conjunctions in sentences:
- Although he always left a tip, the waiters were still rude.
- Cheese and crackers are my favorite snacks, yet I never eat them during the summer.
An interjection is used to express a strong feeling or sudden emotion.
- Gosh! I forgot my coat again.
Interjections are usually used informally, and you will find the words appear in speech more so than formal or academic writing. When interjections are used in writing they are often followed by an exclamation point, which helps to convey the sense of sudden emotion or urgency.
More examples of interjections in sentences:
- Oi! Tell that man to stop immediately.
- Indeed! That was quite the vacation.
Nov 27th 2019
In grammar, a particle is a range of words that fall outside the traditional eight parts of speech – noun, verb, pronoun, adjective, preposition, adverb, interjection, conjunction, yet there is no doubt about its value in language.
So, what is a particle in English? The best way to look at it is as a function word, or word that must be associated with another to give meaning. An example would be the ‘to’ in the verb ‘to run’. Although to can be used as a preposition, with verbs like to run, to love, or to talk, it acts as something called an infinitive marker, and it doesn’t really have any meaning on its own. The broad term for words like this is particle.
What is a Particle in a Sentence?
In most cases, particles are prepositions used in conjunction with another word to form phrasal (multi-word) verbs. Words like in, off, up, by, along, down, forward, under (all prepositions) can be particles, as can the previously discussed word, to, when used as the infinitive marker.
An example of a particle in a sentence:
- He ate up all his dinner.
In this sentence up is a particle. Why? Because the word up is not functioning as a traditional part of speech. Yes, up can be used as a preposition, adverb or adjective, but in this case, it is not quite doing that. Up in this example is acting as an adverb particle as part of a phrasal verb. We will discuss the role of adverb particles in a later section.
Let’s look at some examples of particles in sentences, beginning first with the adverb particles that form phrasal verbs:
- Sassy went away on a long trip.
- We will talk over the problem.
- Jimmy started out with sixty dollars.
Next some examples of to as a particle when used as the infinitive marker (notice how to is used as a particle and preposition in the first example):
- I wanted to go to the movies.
- Helen hopes to decide on her future soon.
- We are not going to go along with this any longer.
Next some examples of discourse particles:
- Now, who would like some dinner?
- I was told I would be fired. Well, I will not accept that without a fight!
Please note that discourse particles are more likely to be part of speech than writing. In addition, it could be argued that discourse particles fall under the banner of interjections (words like oh, wow, hey).
Finally, the word not, which is termed a negative particle
- We will not travel to Paris this summer.
- The president does not have that authority.
The most common particles you will come across are those words that are mainly used as prepositions, but which become adverb particles when combined with a verb. For example:
- The project was moving along at a steady rate.
Along is the adverb particle in this sentence, joining with move to form the phrasal verb move along. It is almost unnecessary to use along in the example, and we could still fully understand the meaning of the sentence without it. So, why use particles in English at all? Grammarians don’t often agree on the reasons for these things, but it’s enough to say that these phrasal verbs that use adverb particles have become more common over time. It might seem unnecessary to have them, but language would be a lot less fun if we didn’t.
Moreover, we can also argue that adverbial particles do, in fact, give some meaning to the sentences. Looking back at a previous example:
- He ate up all his dinner.
Without the adverb particle the sentence would look like this:
- He ate all his dinner.
Are both those sentences truly the same? One might argue that ate up is a little stronger and more visual than ate. The difference is subtle – very subtle. However, it underlines a point on which grammar specialists do agree; namely, that particles are “discrete entities”, i.e. they perform very subtle roles in a sentence, but their usage adds flavour and meaning.
We should, however, be clear that some adverb particles do give very important context as part of a phrasal verb, without which the phrase would make no sense. For example:
- The airplane took off at 3am precisely.
Took off is a phrasal verb meaning to become airborne. Without the adverb particle off, the sentence, the airplane took at 3am precisely, would be nonsensical.
How Many Particles Are in English?
Because many prepositions can be used as adverb particles, we can say that there are dozens of English particles. However, we can break them down into these categories:
- Grammatical particles – the infinitive marker to.
- Adverb particles – prepositions that combine with verbs to form phrasal verbs.
- Discourse particles – words like now and well that are used like interjections.
- Negative particle – the word not.
And a final note: The words yes and no are sometimes described as grammatical particles as they do not fit into the eight parts of speech. The debate rages over this, as some grammarians argue that they are interjections. However, this issue feeds into a (friendly) criticism often aimed at grammarians; namely, that all the words they can’t easily categorize, they lump together and call them particles.
Nov 25th 2019
What Is a Complex Sentence?
A complex sentence is a sentence that contains one independent and at least one dependent clause (sometimes called a subordinate clause). An independent clause is a phrase that would make sense if it were a sentence on its own, whereas a dependent clause will not form a sentence on its own. When these two types of clauses appear in a sentence, we create a complex sentence.
Consider this example:
- I like to eat the candy before I watch a movie.
“I like to eat the candy” is an independent clause as it would make a complete sentence on its own.
“Before I watch a movie” is a dependent clause, as it doesn’t make a complete sentence on its own. It is ‘dependent’ on the first clause for the phrase to make sense.
Complex Sentence Definition
The definition of a complex sentence is a sentence that contains one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.
Examples of Complex Sentences
In the examples of complex sentences below, the dependent clause comes first. Notice that the dependent clause begins with a subordinating conjunction (words like since, because, while) and that the clauses are separated by a comma:
- Because he was late again, he would be docked a day’s pay.
- While I am a passionate basketball fan, I prefer football.
- Although she was considered smart, she failed all her exams.
- Whenever it rains, I like to wear my blue coat.
In the complex sentence examples shown below, the independent clause comes first. Notice that in most examples there is no separation of the clauses by a comma, which is the general rule in complex sentences starting with an independent clause. However, the last example has a comma as it is an example of an extreme contrast. This extreme contrast refers to the clauses expressing ideas that are almost opposite in meaning or that must be heavily emphasized.
- Having a party is a bad idea because the neighbors will complain.
- I am extremely happy since I retired.
- The dog jumped on his lap while he was eating.
- Annie was still crying, although she had been happy about the news.
Independent and Dependent Clauses
We have mentioned several times that a complex sentence contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause. But what are clauses in a sentence? And why are they important in grammar?
Let’s look back at the earlier example of a complex sentence:
- I like to eat candy before I watch a movie.
As we stated earlier, “I like to eat candy” is an independent clause. It makes sense as a standalone sentence. “Before I watch a movie” does not make sense on its own. However, let’s tweak the sentence a bit:
- I like to eat candy candy, but I don’t like to eat popcorn.
The sentence now contains two independent clauses, as “I like to eat candy” and “I don’t like to eat popcorn” could both form complete sentences. The example has now become a compound sentence, i.e. one that contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (but).
However, there is an important distinction to be made when a subordinating conjunction is added to a clause. These words – such as since, whenever, although, because – act to make a clause a dependent clause, even if it looks like an independent clause.
- I like to eat candy (independent clause – makes sense on its own).
- Because I like to eat candy (dependent clause – does not make sense on its own without more information).
Common Complex Sentence Examples
As we have seen with the previous examples, the structure for a complex sentence essentially looks like this:
- Dependent Clause + Independent Clause (comma splits the clause)
- Independent Clause + Dependent Clause (comma usually does not split the clause)
So, using that structure we can easily form examples of complex sentences:
- Despite her advancing years, Elesa was still the best player on the team.
- Elesa was still the best player on the team despite her advancing years.
- Since Hannah got here, she’s been nothing but trouble.
- Hannah has been nothing but trouble since she got here.
You should also be aware that a complex sentence can contain more than one dependent clause. Here are some examples of those types of complex sentences:
- Because I was often late, and since I was always forgetting things, I was regarded as a scatterbrain by my friends.
- Although the war ended, and as people tend to have short memories, the city’s people were still divided over its impact.
Complex Sentences from Literature
Below are some quotes from that classic books that can be considered complex sentences:
- “Because he was so small, Stuart was often hard to find around the hou”
E.B White – Stuart Little
- “I’ve never any pity for conceited people, because I think they carry their comfort about with them.”
George Eliot – The Mill on the Floss
- “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
John Steinbeck — East of Eden
The 4 Types of Sentence Structure
A complex sentence is, of course, just one type of sentence we can use in writing. The four types of sentence are discussed below:
- Complex Sentence
As we have mentioned, a complex sentence is one with an independent clause and at least one dependent clause.
- Whenever he was lonely, Lance called his mother.
- Compound Sentence
A compound sentence is one with two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, but, and, nor, or, yet, so).
- I was born in the United States, yet I consider myself Canadian.
- A Simple Sentence
A simple sentence is one with only one independent clause and no dependent clauses.
- David drives carefully to work in the morning.
- A Compound-Complex Sentence
A compound-complex sentence is one with at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
- Jim doesn’t drink beer because he has a gluten allergy, so he tends to drink wine most weekends.
There are dozens of subordinating conjunctions in English, and their usage is intrinsically linked to dependent (subordinate) clauses.
Common examples of subordinating conjunctions include: After, before, even though, although, as much as, when, whenever, because, as long as, while, since. These words and phrases act as modifiers to a sentence, sometimes changing the phrase from an independent clause to a dependent clause.
There are two main ways to think about subordinating clauses:
- A word or phrase that introduces a dependent clause.
- A word or phrase that links an independent and dependent clause.
Using Subordinate Clauses in Complex Sentences
As we mentioned earlier, a subordinate clause is another way of terming a dependent clause. Both words, subordinate and dependent, offer clues to help us better understand the function of these clauses in writing. Dependent means contingent on or determined by, whereas subordinate means lower in rank or position. That tells us that – grammatically speaking – subordinate/dependent clauses are not equal to the independent clause in a sentence.
The independent clause and subordinate clause are not equal because the latter cannot form a sentence on its own. The subordinate clause is, as such, dependent on the independent clause to provide the complete meaning.
You cannot create a complex sentence without using a subordinate clause in it. Other types of sentences – compound sentences, simple sentences – can exist without subordinate clauses. When you think about it, the subordinate clause is what makes the sentence ‘complex’. The subordinate clause requires the help of the independent clause for it to make sense. It reaches back or forward across the sentence to contextualize itself, making the sentence more ‘complex’ in the process.
Oct 28th 2019
Guest post written by Sienna Walker.
New to HR?
Great companies require great employees to thrive and grow. Frankly, a business cannot reach its full potential unless it has a team of reliable and passionate superstars. That’s why good companies often go the extra mile to retain the best employees, offering flexible working hours, better salaries, and other benefits. If the company is able to keep top talent, it won’t need to hire very often, and the combined skill and experience of its employees will see it grow in no time. However, before a company can hope to retain superstar employees, it first has to find and attract them through well-written job descriptions.
A great job description is a lot like a marriage proposal – you want someone wonderful to first get attracted to you and finally say “yes”. This can sometimes be difficult, especially since you don’t know who you’re proposing to. Top talent, like a wonderful spouse, is looking for everything that would satisfy them in a long-term relationship. The perfect job description will demonstrate that your company is the perfect suitor.
If you are currently trying to find top talent to help your company reach the new levels, make sure to follow these simple steps to make your job description truly outstanding:
Highly talented candidates will have high expectations of a potential employer. After all, they might have spent years, if not decades in this particular business niche. They know their worth. They know that they’re on point. If there are typos, grammatical errors, and redundant sentences in your job description, they’re going to notice. Make sure it looks perfect before you post it. A highly qualified candidate may interpret small errors as red flags – if the company can’t even get the job description right, what’s it going to be like to work there? Perfect presentation is appealing to neat, orderly, and efficient people. Isn’t that exactly what you want from your employees?
Include Photos or Videos
Top talent doesn’t want a “good enough” job. Top talent wants an exciting career. You, on the other hand, want potential great employees to feel compelled to send in resumes. You want them giving you a follow up call the second they leave the interview. Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can explain in words. Pictures and videos can capture the essence of things in a way plain text or a conversation cannot, making your job descriptions stand out among the competition.
Include a short video snippet of a fun meeting. Show pictures of Bring Your Pet to Work Day. Make your workplace look engaging and stimulating. Anyone can write about it, but the proof is always in the pictures.
Talk About Company Culture
Highly talented employees choose to work with a company (especially for the long haul) when they understand and love the company culture. Emphasize that as much as possible. Even if the salary and the benefits don’t quite stack up to those offered by the competitor, a stronger culture may be enough to attract and keep the top talent in your company.
Talk about the way the person hired for the job will integrate with everyone else. Focus on how everyone comes together. Speak about work responsibilities, but also about social, charitable, and bonding activities that everyone is a part of. Help your potential new star talents see themselves thriving in the environment your company creates.
Mention All the Good Things (Besides the Salary)
Keep salary open to negotiation – especially if you know your company may not be able to match your competitor. Focus on everything else you offer. What does your employee recognition program look like? Do you offer scholarship reimbursement or assistance with furthering education? Do you let employees work from home? Are there travel opportunities or flexible scheduling options? These perks can be worth more than a salary to people who prefer work life balance or people who have growing ambitions.
Talented people became talented because they explore their ideas, passions, and creative interest. If you can give them space to continue learning and exploring, you’re going to be the greatest employer they could ever ask for. You don’t even have to explain why these special perks are great – talented candidates will know immediately.
Show Room for Growth
Highly qualified candidates have no intention of working in the mail room forever. They may realize that they’ll need to take a lower level position when they’ve just started working with the company, but they also want to know that they aren’t going to get trapped there for years. Explain the career ladder and opportunities for advancement in the job description. Show them that the initial position can easily be a stepping stone to the place where they really want to be. You may also choose to mention lateral moves, depending on the nature of the position you’re describing.
Highly talented people will always look for a few core things in a job description. If you set the stage properly, they’ll be happy to perform. Measure your descriptions against your competitors, make something better, and see the incredible resumes start pouring in.
Sienna Walker is a career expert, writing about things connected to employment, self-improvement, and job satisfaction. Sienna is also a well-established blogger and is often found online, sharing her tips and ideas with job-seekers and employees.