Coordination is when you combine two independent clauses using a coordinating conjunction.  What this means is that you have two complete thoughts that could stand alone as sentences, but you have decided to combine these two simpler sentences into one that reflects a more sophisticated form of writing by using one of seven words that work to combine complete thoughts with one another.  These seven words are called COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS, and if you can remember a simple word, you will always remember the seven coordinating conjunctions.  When you want to combine sentences using coordination, just think of the word FANBOYS.  Yep, that's right, FANBOYS.  It is an acronym, a word in which the letters represent the first letter in a word (e.g., NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization).  FANBOYS represents the seven coordinating conjunctions: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So.  When you line them up, it's easier to see where the word FANBOYS comes from: 








If you take the first letter from each word, you end up with the acronym FANBOYS.  So when you want to combine sentences using coordination, all you have to remember is FANBOYS.  When you use a coordinating conjunction to combine two simple sentences into a larger, more complicated one , it is (not surprisingly) called coordination.  The new sentence that you made from the two simple sentences is now called a compound sentence.  There's a very simple formula that you can use to combine sentences in this way.  Let's take a look at it:

   (Independent Clause)   , CC   (Independent Clause)   .


Here's an example of a real sentence so that you can see how this functions.  


Billy was hungry , so he cooked some eggs.


In this model, the two independent clauses are those simple sentences that you want to combine into a longer, more sophisticated sentence.  The CC stands for the COORDINATING CONJUNCTION that you must insert between the two independent clauses in order to successfully combine them into a compound sentence.  Note that you MUST put a comma directly following the first independent clause and before the coordinating conjunction.  If you do not have both the comma and the coordinating conjunction, then you do not have a properly written compound sentence.  Now that you have the basic idea of how to construct a compound sentence using coordination, try the exercises on the computer in The Writing Center to test your comprehension.  If you are still having problems visualizing coordination, try the following link to give you a different view of the concept:

Sentence-Combining Skills


You can also view some PowerPoint presentations at this link:

PowerPoint Presentations


Good luck with coordination!  You'll get the hang of it in no time.


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