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WE 081 Combining Sentences

Teacher Tips and Answers

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Combining Sentences

Body Combining Sentences
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Sentence combining is making one smoother, more detailed sentence out of two or more shorter sentences. For instance, take a look at the following sentences:

  • My dog loves to run fast.
  • He loves to jump fences.
  • He loves to chase rabbits.

These sentences are okay, but all of these ideas can be combined into one smooth-reading sentence, which is even better.

  • My dog loves to run fast, jump fences, and chase rabbits.

The guidelines in this chapter will help you learn how to combine sentences, which will help you improve your writing style.

What’s Ahead

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Combining with Key Words

Use a Key Word 🟪 Ideas included in short sentences can be combined by moving a key word from one sentence to the other.

Short Sentences: My dream catcher stopped working. It is dusty.

Combined with an Adjective: My dusty dream catcher stopped working.

Short Sentences: I’ll dust off my dream catcher. I’ll do it tomorrow.

Combined with an Adverb: Tomorrow, I will dust off my dream catcher.

Use a Series of Words or Phrases 🟪 Ideas included in short sentences can be combined into one sentence using a series of words or phrases.

Short Sentences: The cafeteria is loud. The cafeteria is crowded. The cafeteria is hectic.

Combined with a Series of Words: The cafeteria is loud, crowded, and hectic.

All of the words or phrases in a series should be parallel—stated in the same way. Otherwise, the sentence will be unbalanced.)

Incorrect: I will finish my homework, eat my dinner, and a video game.
(Each part in this series should start with a verb.)

Correct: I will finish my homework, eat my dinner, and play a video game.
(Now the series has three actions—finish, eat, and play. The parts are parallel.)

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Combining with Phrases

Use Phrases 🟪 Ideas from two or more short sentences can often be combined into one sentence using phrases.

Short Sentences: I found my courage. It was inside my heart.

Combined with Prepositional Phrases I found my courage inside my heart.

Short Sentences: Joe thanked me for my apology. Joe is my best friend.

Combined with an Appositive Phrase: Joe, my best friend, thanked me for my apology.

Tiger Cat
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Use Compound Subjects and/or Compound Verbs 🟪 A compound subject is two or more subjects connected by a conjunction. A compound verb is two or more verbs connected by a conjunction.

Short Sentences: Tiger wants to delay my homework. I want to delay my homework, too.

Combined with a Compound Subject: Tiger and I want to delay my homework.

Short Sentences: Tiger plops down on my homework. He purrs loudly.

Combined with a Compound Verb: Tiger plops down on my homework and purrs loudly.

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Combining with Longer Sentences

Use Compound Sentences 🟪 A compound sentence is made up of two or more simple sentences joined together. The conjunctions and, but, or, nor, for, so, and yet are used to connect the simple sentences. (Place a comma before the conjunction.)

Simple Sentences: Reindeer are also called caribou. They live all across the northern lands.

Combined with “And”: Reindeer are also called caribou, and they live all across the northern lands.

Simple Sentences: Musk oxen are grumpy and dangerous. They have the best fur for keeping out cold.

Combined with “But”: Musk oxen are grumpy and dangerous, but they have the best fur for keeping out cold.

Use Complex Sentences 🟪 A complex sentence is made up of two ideas connected by a subordinating conjunction (because, when, since, after, before, etc.) or by a relative pronoun (who, whose, which, or that).

Short Sentences: A polar vortex lets extreme cold drop far south. The weak jet stream can’t keep it in.

Combined with “Because”: A polar vortex lets extreme cold drop far south because a weak jet stream can’t keep it in.

Short Sentences: A heat dome can stall over people up north. Often they don’t have air conditioning.

Combined with “Who”: A heat dome can stall over people up north, who often don’t have air conditioning.

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Lesson Plan Resources:

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Vocabulary List:
  • series: three or more words, phrases, or clauses joined by commas and and or or

  • parallel: having the same grammatical form

Vocabulary List:
  • phrase: group of words that functions as a single part of speech

  • compound subject: two or more subjects joined by and or or

  • compound verb: two or more verbs joined by and or or

Vocabulary List:
  • compound sentence: two or more sentences joined by and or or

  • complex sentence: a dependent clause joined to an independent clause (complete sentence)

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