Sentence-Imitation Exercise: Compound Sentences

Practice in Writing Compound Sentences

sentence imitation
Adrienne Robins says than an "effective way of experimenting with various styles and of broadening your store of sentence patterns is to imitate (or mimic) the style of other good writers, writers you respect" (The Analytical Writer: A College Rhetoric). (Peter Cade/Getty Images)

A compound sentence is a sentence that contains at least two independent clauses (also called main clauses). This sentence-imitation exercise will give you practice in connecting two or more independent clauses with coordinating conjunctions.

Instructions
Use each of the 15 compound sentences below as the model for a new sentence of your own.

Example
Original sentence: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
(George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949)

Imitation: It was a dark, snowy morning in Watertown, and the schools were closing for the day.

 

  1. Everyone knows how to talk, but hardly anyone knows what to say.

     
  2. "The grass was wet, and the earth smelled of springtime."
    (E.B. White, Charlotte's Web, 1952)

     
  3. A long time ago, there was no such thing as school, and children spent their days learning a trade.

     
  4. Harry was holding the door open for Nick, but he drifted through the wall instead.

     
  5. "Momma opened boxes of crispy crackers, and we sat around the meat block at the rear of the Store."
    (Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969)

     
  6. "The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended."
    (Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968)

     
  7. Every year thousands of salmon swim up the stream near my house, yet I have scarcely ever seen one.

     
  8. "I have tried to know absolutely nothing about a great many things, and I have succeeded fairly well."
    (attributed to Robert Benchley)

     
  9. "You can't control all the outside events in your life, but you can change how you handle them emotionally and psychologically."
    (Abigail R. Gehring, Homesteading, 2009)

     
  1. "Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much."
    (Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit, 1922)

     
  2. "The birds jumped onto their perches, the animals settled down in the straw, and the whole farm was asleep in a moment."
    (George Orwell, Animal Farm, 1945)

     
  1. "Some automatic device clicked in her big brain, and her knees felt weak, and there was a chilly feeling in her stomach."
    (Kurt Vonnegut, Galápagos, 1985)

     
  2. Life is full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly.
    (adapted from Woody Allen, Annie Hall, 1977)

     
  3. His hands are mittened, his ears are muffed, and his body is cased with thermal underwear, but the damp sock on his right foot is really uncomfortable.
    (adapted from "You Can Tell a Hunter by What He Hunts" by Vance Bourjaily)

     
  4. "The sidewalk and the parkway were both very wide, and in the parkway were three white acacias that were worth seeing."
    (Raymond Chandler, The High Window, 1942)  


To learn more about compound sytuctures, see the article Coordinating Words, Phrases, and Clauses.