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.

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2 Responses to Freight Train Sentences: How to Properly Punctuate a Compound Sentence

  1. Laura says:

    Ooops. I think you meant “Both the semi-colon AND the comm/conjunction combo” and “Neither a comma nor a conjunction IS strong enough.”

    • rumpledwords says:

      Ha! Thank you for the catch. I’ve never tried to claim to be a grammar expert. Everybody makes mistakes, which is one reason I was nervous about posting these. At least I know somebody is reading this. I haven’t fully launched yet. I went back and corrected the oopsies.

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