Independent clauses and coordinating conjunctions

An independent clause contains a subject and a verb, creates a complete thought and stands alone as a sentence.

A cat was basking in the sun.

When we add some phrases, the sentence is more interesting but it is still an independent clause.

Alise's big, fluffy cat was basking in the afternoon sun.
I have read that a simple sentence does not require commas. Well, as we can see it depends on a sentence. A simple sentence does not mean a short sentence.

Snoring and breathing aloud, Alise's big, fluffy cat was basking in the afternoon sun.
Snoring and breathing aloud, Alise's old, big, fluffy cat was happily basking in the afternoon sun on the sofa in the dining room.

As we can see, the length of the sentence will not tell us whether the sentence is simple or not. Sometimes a good simple sentence with many phrases is better than a compound sentence (two independent clauses).

Alise was reading and a cat was basking in the sun. (a compound sentence)

Independent clauses are linked together by special linking words or structures, as well as a comma and a semicolon,

Coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS): far, and, nor, but, or, yet, so, link equal words, phrases and clauses. Conjunctions. which coordinate the independent clauses require a comma before the linking word. In some cases, when both clauses are short, the comma is left out.

Peter bought a new bike yesterday, for he wanted to join a biking club. (because)
Peter bought a new bike yesterday, but Jane bought a new computer.
I did not like bananas, nor I like apples.
Tomorrow, we will go to eat at town, or we will stay home for a barbecue.
I saw a film on tv yesterday, yet I do not remember the ending. (similar to but)
People regard me as a stay-at-home, so I am not invited for most parties.

Two independent clauses/sentences may be joined by a semicolon instead of a comma plus a conjunction, but where to use it - depends on your feelings. Semicolon used instead of a comma plus a conjunction does not indicate the relationship between the two independent clauses; it is a reader's job to solve the mystery or wait for additional information.

My mother does not live for holidays abroad; she spends the summer at her allotment, devoted to the gardening.

Usually, we do not place a semicolon and a coordinating conjunction, but it is not a mistake if the two independent clauses are lengthy, complex and with commas within the clauses. My advice is: do not try it unless you feel strong in the language field. Smiles.


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