I was standing on the sidewalk but I was too ashamed to walk in.

I was standing on the sidewalk but too ashamed to walk in.

So the first one is obviously a compound sentence, but what about the second one? It has "but" as a coordinating conjunction but not a subject and a verb like a clause should be. Is the second sentence just a simple sentence or still considered a compound?


1 Answer 1


The second sentence has a compound verb phrase.

As you already know, a simple sentence has exactly one subject and one verb phrase. Although "was" only appears once, this is in fact two verb phrases. A second "was" is understood and elided.

First, let's compare with a similar looking simple sentence:

I was tired, but satisfied.

Here, "was" is the only verb, a copula, and the compound adjective phrase "tired, but satisfied" is the complement. There's one verb (a copula), one complement, one clause, so it's a simple sentence.

In your example, however, "was standing" is the past continuous tense, but "was ashamed" is a copula + adjective. The word "was" cannot serve both as an auxiliary verb in the present continuous and as a copula at the same time, so "was" is not shared by "standing" and "ashamed". There is a second copular "was" that is elided.

The subject "I" is shared between them, so the full sentence without any understood verbs or elision is:

I was standing on the sidewalk but was too ashamed to walk in.

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