Self Teaching Unit:

Sentence Combining

2005 Margaret L. Benner    All rights reserved.

This brief instructional unit will examine strengths and weaknesses in various kinds of sentences.  In addition, it will show you some techniques for creating sentences that are

Using a variety of sentence combining methods will enhance your writing as well by providing a mixture of sentence types and thereby keep your reader from becoming bored.

In general, avoid the following kinds of sentences:

1. Primer style sentences - ERROR

       

       

 

2.  Loose, stringy, run-on, over-coordinated sentences - ERROR

       

       

 

3.  Excessively subordinated, tangled sentences - ERROR

       

       

 

In addition, use one or more of the following methods to combine sentences into clear, economical, tight units of thought:

 

Method #1: Reduce one sentence into a present participial phrase (-ing phrase).

       

                                                                        OR

     

        The emphasis in each example above is different:  Example 1 emphasizes creeping through the grass while example 2 emphasizes watching the mouse.

 

Method #2:  Reduce one sentence into a past participial phrase  (-ed or -en verbal phrase).

       

 

Method #3:  Reduce one sentence into an adverbial clause (beginning with when, if etc.).

       

        Note that each combination in the above example emphasizes a different part of the sentence.  The first sentence combination emphasizes that Jones feels good; the second emphasizes that she works out.

                                                                                                                    comma use with adverbial clauses

 

Method #4:  Reduce one sentence into an adjectival clause (beginning with that, which, who, etc.).

       

        Note that each combination in the above example emphasizes a different part of the sentence.  The first sentence emphasizes how long Bill Bristol was at the supermarket; the second emphasizes what time he got there.

                                                                                                                       comma use with adjectival clauses

 

Method #5: Reduce one sentence into an appositive (re-namer).

       

        Note that each combination in the above example emphasizes a different part of the sentence.  The first sentence emphasizes that Ms. Browne is an applicant; the second emphasizes that she is a well known financial advisor.

 

Method #6:  Create a series.

       

 

Here are some examples that use several methods at a time to combine sentences.  Note carefully how all information has been included in the final sentence in a concise, clear, graceful manner.

       

       

 

Click on the link to complete the post test for this self-teaching unit.