Compound subjects and compound verbs can add variety and depth to your writing. While writers always want to be concise and to the point, there are times when you might need to elaborate on the subjects and verbs in your sentences.
Let's begin with a quick review of each component before diving into specific examples using compound subjects and verbs.
The subject of a sentence is generally defined as the noun or pronoun engaging in the activity of the verb. Consider the following sentences:
Beth reads very slowly.
She reads very slowly.
In the first sentence, "Beth" is the subject. In the second sentence, "She" is the subject. In both sentences, the subject is engaged in the activity of reading.
When a sentence has two or more subjects, that's called a compound subject. The individual subjects are joined by a coordinating conjunction (like and, or, neither, or nor).
When the subjects are joined by "and," the verb agrees with the pronoun "they."
Joanie and Chachi love each other.
Mr. Madison and the students are leaving soon.
The cat and the dog stay indoors.
The fork and spoons need to be washed.
When the subjects are joined by "or" or "neither/nor," the verb agrees with the subject that is closest to the verb.
The piano or the bookcase has to go.
The piano or the tables have to go.
Neither the pillows nor the curtains match the couch.
Neither the pillows nor the blanket looks good in this room.
A compound verb occurs when two verbs are needed to fully explain the action taken by the subject. Like the compound subject, these verbs come to life when a sentence has two or more verbs. The individual verbs are also joined by a coordinating conjunction.
Jamie ran, swam, and rode all across the county.
Meanwhile, she neither ran nor swam across the country.
In addition, there are four other types of compound verbs:
Prepositional verb - When a preposition (such as "in") combines with a verb (such as "believe")
Example: believe in
Phrasal verb - When a verb (such as "take") combines with another type of word, like an adverb (such as "away")
Example: take away
Verb with auxiliaries - When a verb (such as "walking") combines with another verb called a helping verb (such as "was")
Example: was walking
Compound single-word verb - When a verb is a combination of multiple words (such as "over" and "burden")
A compound verb gives the reader more information about the action taken than a singular verb that only shows one action.
The following 15 sentences use compound subjects:
Potato chips and cupcakes are bad for you.
Uncle Jim, Aunt Sue and my cousin Jake went to Jamaica on vacation.
Beth and Kendra read very slowly.
The boots by the door and the flip-flops in the living room need to be put away.
Neither the boots by the door nor the flip-flops in the living room will be here anymore if you don't put them away.
Neither a tall man nor a short man lives in that house.
Neither wind nor rain nor sleet nor hail can stop the US Postal Service from delivering the mail.
Neither the rugs downstairs nor the carpet upstairs has been vacuumed.
Either you or your brother is going to be punished.
Either the chicken or the beef in the freezer needs to be thawed for dinner tonight.
Either the matches or the candles caused the fire.
Either a rat or the gerbil keeps chewing up all my socks!
Everything on the bed and everything in the closet was organized in under an hour.
Nobody in the bank and nobody in the store saw the accident.
Anyone on the soccer team and anybody on the basketball team is eligible for the scholarship.
For more examples in different types of sentences, see Compound Subject Examples.
The following 15 sentences use compound verbs:
Her car skidded and halted to a stop.
I will walk to the store tomorrow. (verb with auxiliary)
His sad story made me tear up. (phrasal verb)
They skipped and jogged all the way down the lane.
I don't want to bother you. (verb with auxiliary)
The tightly woven fabric was easy to waterproof. (compound single-word verb)
Is the product something you can believe in? (prepositional verb)
I will take away the used parts. (phrasal verb)
Will the new balance carry over to the next bill? (prepositional verb)
The new employee didn't know what to ask for. (prepositional verb)
The little boy was telling me all about the fair. (verb with auxiliary)
He decided to air-condition the room. (compound single-word verb)
He didn't know what to work on. (phrasal verb)
Is he someone you can rely on? (prepositional verb)
I am willing to take the job. (verb with auxiliary)
For more examples in different types of sentences, see Compound Verb Examples.
English speakers and writers do everything they can to shorten and tighten what they have to say. By using compound subjects and compound verbs, they can do just that.
Ready to be really bold and daring? Why not move beyond compound subjects and verbs and enter into the land of compound sentences? If your curiosity is piqued, review these Compound Sentence Examples.