Is this sentance simple, compound, complex, or compound complex? Oveta Culp Hobby was the first head of the Women's Army Corps, and later she became Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. 

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This sentence is a compound sentence, because it has two independent clauses combined with a coordinating conjunction, “and” in this case. 

For comparison sake, a simple sentence has one independent clause.  An independent clause is basically a complete sentence on its own.   This sentence is a simple sentence.

Oveta Culp Hobby was the first head of the Women's Army Corps.

A complex sentence has a subordinate clause (also called a dependent clause), or a clause that is not a complete sentence on its own but relies on the independent clause to have full meaning.  For example, if the sentence said “because” instead of “and” to combine the clauses it would be complex.

Oveta Culp Hobby was the first head of the Women's Army Corps because she became Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. 

Instead, the sentence is a compound sentence.  You can see the two independent clauses in brackets and the coordinating conjunction in bold.

[Oveta Culp Hobby was the first head of the Women's Army Corps], and [later she became Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.]

Sometimes people get confused because of the prepositional phrases.  Phrases are not sentences by themselves, because they do not have a subject and a verb.  This sentence has several prepositional phrases, marked here in italics.

Oveta Culp Hobby was the first head of the Women's Army Corps, and later she became Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

If you remove the prepositional phrases, you are left with this sentence.

Oveta Culp Hobby was the first head, and later she became Secretary. 

That might help you see how it actually is just a compound sentence.  The conjunction is a good clue.  The coordinating conjunctions can be remembered with the acronym FANBOYS as they are: for, and, nor, or, but, yet, so.  A compound-complex sentence would have a compound sentence with a subordinate clause.

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