A sentence that contains at least two independent clauses is a compound sentence. One way to connect the independent clauses is by using a conjunctive adverb; another way is by using a coordinating conjunction.
There are seven coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. As a group, they form the “fanboys,” an acronym that aids their recall.
Whenever a coordinating conjunction connects two independent clauses, a comma must be inserted before the conjunction.
Example: Jill ate the hamburger, for she was hungry.
Note: In the above example, “for” means “because.”
Is the following a compound sentence? Is the sentence punctuated correctly?
* The Mets released Luis Castillo on Friday but they didn’t release Oliver Perez until Monday.
It’s a compound sentence; however, it’s not punctuated correctly. It needs a comma before “but.”
A conjunctive adverb can appear either at the beginning of a sentence or within it. When it starts a sentence, a comma should follow it.
Example: Nevertheless, he ate the ice cream.
When it’s within a sentence, how it’s punctuated depends on what surrounds it. If there’s an independent clause on each side, it needs to be punctuated as described in the previous post.
Example: Today is the first day of spring; however, I’m going to miss winter.
When a conjunctive adverb “interrupts” a sentence that contains only one independent clause, the adverb needs to be “encased” in commas.
Example: For breakfast, however, she prefers to eat oatmeal.
Note: If a group of words that begins with a capital letter and ends with a period lacks an independent clause, it’s a sentence fragment. (“Stop!” is a sentence because its subject, “you,” is implied, and its meaning is understood. It expresses a complete thought.)
A sentence, at its minimum, needs to contain both a subject and a verb; further, it must express a complete thought, which enables it to make sense when standing alone.
The above sentence actually expresses two thoughts. First, it states that “A sentence, at its minimum, needs to contain both a subject and a verb.” Second, it states that “it must express a complete thought, which enables it to make sense when standing alone.” Each of those thoughts is also an independent clause. They’re connected by “further,” which is a conjunctive adverb.
Whenever a conjunctive adverb connects two independent clauses, it must be preceded by a semi-colon and followed by a comma.
Other words that can serve as conjunctive adverbs are accordingly, besides, consequently, finally, furthermore, however, nevertheless, and therefore.