A complex sentence consists of one coordinate (main) clause and one or more subordinate clauses.
A compound sentence consists of two or more coordinate (main) clauses.
As we have already learned, a main clause can stand alone. A subordinate clause, on the other hand, cannot stand alone. It needs to be attached to a main clause.
Subordinate clauses are of three types – adjective clause, adverb clause and noun clause.
We can convert a complex sentence into a compound sentence by changing the subordinate clause(s) into main clause(s).
An example is given below.
- He went to work as soon as he finished his meal.
Let’s analyze this sentence.
It has two finite verbs (went, finished) and hence it has two clauses.
The clause ‘he went to work’ is the main clause because it can stand alone.
The clause ‘as soon as he finished his meal’ is a subordinate clause because it cannot stand alone and needs to be attached to the main clause.
We can convert this sentence into a compound sentence by changing the subordinate clause into a coordinate clause. This can be done by removing the subordinating conjunction. The two clauses are then connected using a coordinating conjunction.
- He finished his meal and went to work.
As you can see, this sentence has two coordinate clauses connected by the coordinating conjunction ‘and’.