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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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5 Structuring compound sentences

Academic and formal texts may contain some simple sentences. However, many sentences are not simple, instead they contain more than one independent clause.

compound sentence is a sentence that connects two or more independent clauses with a connecting word.

Here is an example of a compound sentence containing two independent clauses that are linked by the connecting word and:

Clause 1



Clause 2

Skimming is used to get an overview of a text


scanning helps to find a specific piece of information.

This compound sentence could be broken into two complete sentences:

  • Skimming is used to get an overview of a text.
  • Scanning helps to find a specific piece of information.

In practice, you would not want to split these two sentences because they work fine joined together. Additionally, if you write only in simple sentences, your writing will read jerkily.

Running things together into longer sentences provides a more flowing read and gives a more ‘natural’ feel.

It is important to remember that in academic texts, two independent clauses must always be joined by a linking word and must be correctly punctuated. The linking words used to connect independent clauses are conjunctions and adverbs.