Freight Train Sentences: How to Properly Punctuate a Compound Sentence

All aboard for a quick lesson on compound sentences.

Sentences are like trains. They come in different sizes, and sometimes you need to hook them together. Like trains, if you do not couple the sentences properly, you’ll end up with a train wreck of jumbled up words.

Today we’ll talk about combining two simple sentences into a compound sentence.

Here are our two sentences.

Mariah makes mudpies in Moravia. Bert bakes buns in Belarus.

These two sentences can be correctly combined by using a semi-colon or by using a comma and a conjunction.

Mariah makes mudpies in Moravia; Bert bakes buns in Belarus.
Mariah makes mudpies in Moravia, and Bert bakes buns in Belarus.

Either the semi-colon or the comma/conjunction combo is enough to combine these two sentences.

However, combining the two sentences by any of these methods will result in a wreck.

Mariah makes mudpies in Moravia Bert bakes buns in Belarus.
Mariah makes mudpies in Moravia and Bert bakes buns in Belarus.
Mariah makes mudpies in Moravia, Bert bakes buns in Belarus.

There has to be some kind of connector between the two sentences. Neither a comma nor a conjunction is strong enough to join these two freight train sentences. You need both or a semi-colon.


PUNISHED by David Lubar

When Logan gets in trouble for running through the library with his best friend, Benedict, he receives an unusual punishment. Everything that comes out of Logan’s mouth is a pun. At first it’s funny, but then it turns annoying. Finally, it lands him in the principal’s office. In order to lift the punishment, Logan must complete three linguistic quests involving oxymorons, anagrams, and palindromes.

This book is a fun quick read for upper elementary school age kids, and a nifty way to cover objectives in Language Arts curriculum. Go here for more links and information on this book.

PEELED by Joan Bauer

Peeled by Joan Bauer is a book any aspiring journalist should read … or for that matter any current journalist. It’s a bit ironic that I chose to read this book the same week all the Texas textbook flap broke out. Depending on which news source you pay attention to, you’d think either the liberals or the conservatives were taking over Texas and ruining the country. I’m still not sure what the truth is, but I do know there was some bad reporting going on.

This novel has a campy overtone with a more serious core, and it’s full of apple jokes because growing apples is how the town of Banesville survives. That’s not enough for some people, so the city slickers move in and fabricate a story about a ghost, propelling Banesville to national attention but leading the apple growers to ruin. Throw in a grumpy former newsman turned school newspaper advisor, a cute love interest, and a diner owner with ties to Poland, and you have both meat and sweets in this story.

I found Peeled both funny and fast paced, an enjoyable read which could lead students to discuss responsibility and truth.