To keep your writing interesting, it's important to vary your sentence structure – writing a lot of sentences with a simple subject-and-verb structure may cause your audience to nod off. You can use two easy methods to make your sentences more interesting: using compound subjects or using compound predicates. A compound subject means two or more people, places or things go before the verb. A compound predicate means two or more people, places or things go after the verb.
Write a sentence with a compound subject by using two or more nouns before the verb. This comes in handy when describing things such as team sports or group activities.
- Ross and Roy rowed the boat.
You keep the verb the same, no matter how many nouns the subject contains. So if Roger were to help Ross and Roy row the boat, the sentence would be: Ross, Roy, and Roger rowed the boat.
You can make simple sentences into one sentence that has a compound subject.
You try it! Change these two simple sentences into one sentence with a compound subject:
- Fran raced on skates. Marie raced on skates.
- Fran and Marie raced on skates.
Write a compound predicate when one person, place or thing does two things.
- Sharon sings in the shower and washes her hair.
Two actions come from one subject. You can do two things at once, right? So can a sentence. So, change the verb with a compound predicate. The two actions the subject takes require two verbs to describe the action.
- The bear growled and chased Jim.
You try it! Change these two simple sentences into one sentence with a compound predicate:
- The dog wagged his tail. The dog barked.
- The dog wagged his tail and barked.
Compound Subjects with Compound Predicates
Use a compound subject and compound predicate if two or more people take two or more actions. Example: Jerry and Joe ate ice cream and went swimming. Three nouns can do two things.
- The bear, the dog and the cat floated on the raft and jumped off when it came ashore.
You try it! Combine three sentences into one by using a compound subject with a compound predicate.:
- Ralph traveled to the mountains and fished in a stream. Randy joined him on the trip.
- Ralph, Randy and Frank traveled to the mountains and fished in a stream.
Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. He has written about business, marketing, finance, sales and investing for publications such as "The New York Daily News," "Business Age" and "Nation's Business." He is an instructional designer with credits for companies such as ADP, Standard and Poor's and Bank of America.