What is a Compound Subject? Definition, Examples of Compound Subjects

Compound subject definition: A compound subject is more than one subject joined by a conjunction.

What is a Compound Subject?

A compound subject is like a subject in that it must be nouns. A compound subject is more than one noun acting as a subject.

Conjunctions join the nouns to make the compound subject.

 

Compound Subject Examples

  • Hank and Tom arrived at their destination.
    • Compound Subject: Hank and Tom (joined by conjunction “and”)
  • Neither Frank nor Steve likes coffee.
    • Compound Subject: Frank nor Steve (joined by conjunction “nor”)
  • Lochte and Feigen told police they and their fellow swimmers had returned to the Olympic village at 04:00 local time (08:00 GMT). –BBC News
    • Compound Subject: Lochte and Feigen (joined by the conjunction “and”)

There is no limit to how many nouns can make a compound subject. However, there are more acceptable ways to name large groups than to list individual subjects.

Simple Singular and Simple Plural Subjects

compound subject sentenceSubject-verb agreement must be consistent with singular or plural subjects. In other words, singular nouns and plural nouns must have properly conjugated verbs.

Example:

  • She is beautiful.
    • The subject, “she,” takes the singular verb conjugation, “is.”
  • They are beautiful.
    • The subject, “they,” take the plural verb conjugation, “are.”

Compound Subjects: Singular or Plural?

Simple sentence with compound subject Just as simple subjects can be singular or plural, so can compound subjects. Consequently, they take singular or plural verbs.

Let’s look at the examples from above to explore this concept.

  • Hank and Tom arrived at their destination.
    • Compound Subject: Hank and Tom (joined by conjunction “and”)
    • This compound subject requires a plural verb conjugation, “are.” Tom and Hank are both arriving; they are two people doing the action.
  • Neither Frank nor Steve likes coffee.
    • Compound Subject: Frank nor Steve (joined by conjunction “nor”)
    • This compound subject requires a singular verb conjugation, “is.” This is because in “either” and “neither” sentences, the verb agrees with the subject closest to the verb.

When using phrases to make compound subjects, such as “in conjunction with” or as well as,” the verb takes on a singular agreement. This is because the noun following the preposition is a part of a prepositional phrase, not a subject.

Example:

  • Matt in conjunction with Mark attended the meeting.
    • “In conjunction with Mark” is a prepositional phrase; it is not a part of a compound subject; a singular verb is used

Singular Compound Subjects With “And”

Some compound subjects are meant to be grouped together and take singular verbs. (They are almost like compound nouns).

These compound subject include common pairings that make up one bigger thing.

Examples:

  • Peanut butter and jelly is my favorite kind of sandwich.
  • Meat and potatoes is what’s for dinner.
  • Spaghetti and meatballs is my mom’s specialty.
  • Ham and cheese is on the restaurant’s menu

What do Compound Subjects Accomplish?

Compound English subject worksheet Compound subjects help writers avoid redundancy. A writer can say the same thing with a compound subject that he could otherwise say in two sentences.

Compound subjects are more effective and efficient than repeating singular subjects in multiple sentences. Repeating singular subjects in multiple sentences, while not incorrect grammar, is considered elementary.

Examples:

  • Jane plays basketball. Jerry plays basketball. George plays basketball.
  • Jane, Jerry, and George play basketball.
  • Antonio does not want to go the party. Suzette does not want to go to the party.
  • Antonio and Suzette do not want to go to the party.

As you can see, using a compound subject really enhances the sentences and keeps it succinct.

Summary: What are Compound Subjects?

What is compound subject Define compound subject: the definition of compound subject is a subject that is two or more nouns connected by a conjunction.

To sum up, a compound subject:

  • includes more than one noun or pronoun
  • is joined by a conjunction
  • requires appropriate subject-verb agreement