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Reading and Writing Rocks Yellow / Lesson 9: Combining or Joining Sentences

Sentence Expanding & Sentence Combining/ Joining

Created by Trisha Stewart for EDU 506 @ FHU School of Education by Dr. Bruce Lewis and

Sentence Combining

  • Do you want to know who the oldest living couples are?? Well, I'll tell you, they're sentences!? These love birds take a lot of time and dedication in staying together.? Each day, they are challenged with trials of run-ons, fragments, and other obstacles that try to keep them apart.? But, yet they stay together.? You will learn the "love story" of combining sentences.

Combining Sentences

  • We can combine two or more sentences into a single sentence. We may do this because sentences are closely related in meaning and belong together, and because it is boring to read a series of short sentences that have a similar structure.

  • (The preceding sentence, by the way, is a combination of 4 sentences -- can you find them?)

  • When we talk about combining sentences, we will often use the word clause which is a group of words containing a subject and a verb. So, we will say that the sentence I know you and you know me. contains two clauses rather than saying that it contains two sentences. A sentence that contains only one clause is called a simple sentence.

Sentence Combining

  • Compounding and embedding are both ways of fitting the edges of ideas to each other so that they conne

    Problems with short sentences:

  • *Short choppy sentences demand attention, they should be used primarily for emphasis. If you have too many short sentences one after another it creates a choppy style.
  • *Short sentences cannot show relationships that exist between ideas of different   importance.
  • *Short sentences draw attention away from the ideas in the paper.

Some ways to combine sentences

  • 1. Use punctuation

  • 2. Use coordinating words


Some ways to combine sentences

1. Use Punctuation to combine

  • Be careful not to use commas to combine sentences. This may create run-on sentences and comma splices.
  • There are 3 punctuation marks that are stronger than a comma but weaker than a period, question mark, or exclamation point. These are the dash (--), colon (:), and semi-colon (;).
  • -- A dash is used to add more information about some part of your sentence. It is very informal, so it may be advisable not to include it in your writing.
  • : A colon is used to add more information or to give examples in your sentence. For example: He plays many sports: soccer, hockey, and basketball. (Instead of: He plays soccer. He plays hockey. He plays basketball).
  • ; A semi-colon is the most important punctuation mark for combining sentences, it is used to connect clauses. It can also be used to connect clauses together with linking words such as however, moreover, and therefore. Remember that it is the semi-colon and not the conjunctive adverb that connects the clauses.

Some ways to combine sentences

2. Use Coordinating Words

  • The coordinating conjunctions are as follows.?
  • "and" is used to join clauses that contain additional information
  • (I bought a ticket and I got on the bus).
  • "or" is used to join clauses that contain choices or alternatives
  • (Write me a letter or send an e-mail message).
  • "but" is used to join clauses that contain opposing ideas
  • (I arrived early but no one was there).
  • "so" is used to join clauses that contain ideas of cause and effect
  • (The jacket didn't fit so I took it back to the store).

2. Use Coordinating Words

  • "for" shows logical consequence; it has the same meaning as because, the reason why
  • (Coping with environmental issues is a necessary part of industrial studies, for industries affect the environment).
  • "nor" shows addition of a negative point
  • (The environment cannot sustain constant resource depletion, nor can it recover quickly from wide-scale resource extraction).
  • "yet" shows contrast
  • (More secondary schools are implementing programs designed to increase teenagers' awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, yet alcohol-related traffic accidents continue to be one of the leading causes of death for people between the ages of fifteen and twenty-two).

Use Apposition

  • APPOSITION: In apposition, a word or phrase is taken and placed in a parallel position to a noun in the sentence. An appositive is like a parenthetical statement surrounded not by parentheses but by commas.

  • Jason is a very good student. He always does his homework. Jason, a very good student, always does his homework).


Here is a Simple Sentence definition:

  • Simple Sentence -- One person or thing acts (does something) in some way, or is (has a "state of being") a certain way. One Subject means one thing exists or is done in the sentence.
  • Person or thing = noun = subject of sentence
  • Doing or being = verb = predicate of sentence


A Compound Sentence: Takes 2 simple sentences and combines them

  • Compound Sentence -- Two-part sentence. Both parts could be sentences on their own.
  • Each part of the sentence has a subject.
  • Each part of the sentence has a predicate.
  • Each part is called an independent clause

A Complex Sentence: Takes 1 simple sentence + 1 modifying part

  • Complex Sentence -- Two-part sentence, but only one part can stand alone. The other part modifies the stand-alone part.
  • "Modify" means to change something. Here, it means to give something a different meaning.
  • The part that modifies is called a dependent clause.
  • The part that is modified is the independent clause.

Guidelines on Combining Sentences with Compound And Complex ones

  • A variety of sentence types makes writing more interesting. Mix up simple, compound, and complex sentences, but not just randomly.
    - Use simple sentences when the idea is direct and... simple.
    - Use compound sentences when two ideas or statements should be brought together.
    - Use complex sentences when one idea or statement is a helper for another idea or   statement.

  • You can combine sentences by compounding two or more sentence parts that play the same sentence role. A conjunction can connect subject with subject, verb with verb, completer with completer, or modifier with modifier. You may wish to review here:

  • Combining Sentences by Compounding Verbs,

  • Combining Sentences by Compounding Subjects,

  • Combining Sentences by Compounding Completers or Modifiers.

  • In the example below, the conjunction connects two verbs:
  • Those blues tunes haunt me. Those blues tunes don't change my mind.
  • Those blues tunes haunt me but don't change my mind.

  • You can combine sentences by embedding one within another. A dependent word can take away a clause's independence and embed it in an independent clause. See "From Independent to Dependent Clause" in Chapter 5.

  • Those blues tunes haunt me. You play them on your trombone. Those blues tunes haunt me when you play them on your trombone.

  • A verb can be reduced to a verbal and embedded in another sentence alone or as a verbal phrase. See "From Verb to Verbal" in Chapter 5.

  • Those blues tunes are haunting. They echo constantly through my brain. Those haunting blues tunes echo constantly through my brain. OR Haunting me, those blues tunes echo constantly through my brain.

  • You can combine sentences by compounding them. A conjunction with a comma before it connects two independent sentences:

  • Those blues tunes are haunting me. I don't want you to stop playing. Those blues tunes are haunting me, but I don't want you to stop playing.