Presentation on theme: "Sentence Combining Basic Guidelines. What is sentence combining? Combining short sentences and taking out the redundant elements to make more concise,"— Presentation transcript:
Sentence Combining Basic Guidelines
What is sentence combining? Combining short sentences and taking out the redundant elements to make more concise, interesting, effective writing. Take a look at these sentences: The Supreme Court has one chief justice The Supreme Court has eight associate justices. Each justice is appointed to office by the President Justices on the Supreme Court serve for life. They can be combined into a single, better sentence: The Supreme Court consists of one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices who, after being appointed by the President, serve for life. A much more efficient way to the point, right? Sentence combining exercises let you explore different ways of saying things and consolidating ideas. So let’s go through some of the basics you need to do your assignment.
1.Get rid of everything you can 2.Join related ideas 3.Make sure lists of statements are parallel 4.Punctuate correctly The purpose of combining sentences is to help you create clear, smooth, effective writing. Good sentence combining requires that you: The next few pages will help you take a look at all four elements
To start out with, let’s review the difference between clause and phrases, so that the rules that follow will make sense. A clause is a group of related words which has a subject and a verb. s v the clown tipped his hat A phrase is a group of related words which doesn’t have a complete subject and verb. v v smiling and waving to the crowd (no subject—we don’t know who was smiling and waving)
A sentence is an independent clause. It’s a clause because it has a subject and a verb, and independent because it’s a complete thought which can stand on it’s own. S V Example: The clown rode his tricycle around the ring. A dependent clause has a subject and a verb, and as you might guess by the name, it can’t stand alone as a sentence. Example: Although the elephants were tired (You’ve got a subject and a verb, but this isn’t complete; it’s a sentence fragment.)
There are twenty species of venomous snakes in the U.S. The rattlesnake is the one venomous snake common in Utah. Now let’s look at sentence combining. Coordinating is the first way you can combine sentences. You just add two sentences (independent clauses) together. Here you have two complete sentences: There are two ways to join them: 1. You can join them with a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, so, nor for, yet) + a comma. There are twenty species of venomous snakes in the U.S, but the rattlesnake is the one venomous snake common in Utah 2. You can also join them with a semicolon if they are closely connected ideas. There are 14 types of venomous snakes in the U.S.; the rattlesnake is the one venomous snake common in Utah.
Can you use just a comma to join two complete sentences? NO ! ! ! I love to read, I have read fourteen books this month. (That’s a comma splice and it’s, well, an ugly sight.) Remember that punctuation marks are there to send messages to the reader; the wrong punctuation sends wrong signals, and the reader gets lost. (Note the use of a semicolon and a comma + conjunction to join the independent clauses above)
Another way to combine sentences is by subordinating--turning a sentences in to a dependent clause or phrase and joining it to another sentence (independent clause). Here are the two sentences: There are 20 species of venomous snakes in the U.S. The rattlesnake is the one venomous snake that is common in Utah. I can make the first sentence into a dependent clause by adding “while.” While there are twenty species of venomous snakes in the U.S., the rattlesnake is the one venomous snake that is common in Utah. Remember that sentence combining also allows you the ability to make the idea more concise. First look for duplicate words. That sentence says “venomous snakes” twice. I can improve the sentence by cutting the second one out. While there are 14 types of venomous snakes in the U.S, only one, the rattlesnake, is common to Utah. I went from 23 words to 19 and the sentence sounds better, doesn’t it?
You will notice that there are distinctive subordinating words common in the different types of information writing you will examine this quarter: In process writing, you’ll see subordinating words like “after,” “before,” and “then.” In cause & effect or problem/solution writing, you’ll often use words and phrases like “if,” “therefore,” “because,” and “as a result.” In a classification & analysis or comparison & contrast piece you might use words and phrases like “while,” “although,” “whenever,” “however,” “not only... but also,” and “as long as.”
Some additional punctuation rules to keep in mind as you combine sentences: An introductory phrase or clause (one that comes at the beginning of a sentence) needs to be followed by a comma. Example: After I dropped my sister off at her lesson, I headed home to study. When the phrase or clause isn’t essential (it adds information, but the sentence would still be clear without it), then you need commas around it. S (non-essential phrase) V Example: The old mill, built around 1890, provided a perfect spot for our hideout. (See, you could say “The old mill provided a perfect spot for the hideout,” and it would make perfect sense.) If the phrase or clause comes in the middle of a sentence and is essential to the meaning (if you took it out the idea in the sentence wouldn’t be clear), then you don’t need commas. S V ( dependent clause) Example: I wish I had studied for the test because I didn’t do well at all.
When you start joining sentences and sentence elements, you want those elements to be parallel. Parallel structure involves repeating the same pattern of words when two or more ideas of equal importance are functioning in the same way in the sentence (or paragraph). Can you see why the first sentence is not parallel and the second one is? Parallel Structure Not parallel: Spending time with family and to make time for friends are both important. Parallel: Spending time with family and making time for friends are both important. Look at the examples on the next page for further explanation of parallel structure.
Not Parallel: Margaret began to wail, begging not to go, shrieking on every drop and curve, and claimed she was never getting on a roller coaster again. Parallel: Margaret began to wail, begging not to go, shrieking on every drop and curve, and claiming she was never getting on a roller coaster again. Not Parallel: My piano teacher told me that I needed to practice harder, pay more attention, and my commitment was lacking. Parallel: My piano teacher told me that I needed to practice harder, pay more attention, and give piano 100% of my effort. Not parallel: The college recruiter claimed that ASU had the most prestigious chess team, the most agreeable weather, and all the classes I needed were there. Parallel: The college recruiter claimed that ASU had the most prestigious chess team, the most agreeable weather, and the best selection of classes. Look at the words just before the first item in the list. They will direct how each element in your list begins. Because you can’t say to practice, to pay, and to my commitment was lacking, you know you have a problem parallelism. The second one is parallel because it says “that ASU had the most prestigious chess team; that ASU had the most agreeable weather, and that ASU had the best selection of classes.” Saying “that ASU had all the classes I needed were there” doesn’t make sense. You can’t say begging, shrieking and claimed; you want to say begging, shrieking, and claiming.
How do you feel about sentence combining? Here’s a short quiz to try it out: m m Here are some other sources if you’d like to do some more review: