What Is a Compound Subject? (with Examples)A compound subject is one which consists of more than one noun. (This includes pronouns, noun phrases, and noun clauses.)
When the subject of a sentence is made up of two or more elements, it's called a compound subject.
The individual elements in a compound subject are joined by words like and and or (called coordinate conjunctions) or pairings like either/or and neither/nor (called correlative conjunctions).
Examples of Compound SubjectsHere are some examples of compound subjects (shaded):
- A clean driving licence, sales experience and team spirit are essential.
- A fool and his money are easily parted.
- The pigeon and the falcon fell from view.
- My wife and I cannot attend unfortunately.
- Neither the British Army nor the Metropolitan Police had any suitable vehicles.
Is a Compound Subject Singular or Plural?When and is used to join the elements in a compound subject, the compound subject is treated as plural. For example:
- Mark and Craig are flying on Saturday.
- Mark as well as Craig is flying on Saturday.
When using or, either/or, or neither/nor, the compound subject might be singular or plural. Generally, if all elements are singular, then the compound subject should be treated as singular.
There is a little more to it than that though.
Read more about using a singular or plural verb with or, either/or, and neither/nor.
It is possible to end a compound subject with a comma to group it neatly for your readers. This is not a popular practice amongst grammarians. However, if you think it helps, do it. For example:
- Leaving a list of Internet passwords, increasing your life insurance and writing a will, will give you peace of mind while you are on operations. (The author has ended the compound subject with a comma to make it clear where the subject ends. This is acceptable.)