Sentence Combining

Sentence Combining
Goal: To improve sentence flow; to make ideas flow naturally by showing how ideas connect.
Identifying Patterns:
 Analyze how many sentences begin with Subject Verb pattern. Some of this is fine. Too much of
this makes writing sound immature.
 Analyze sentence length. If all of your sentences are roughly the same length and construction, your
writing will feel repetitive.
Strategies for Adding Variety:
 Start with a dependent clause. Dependent clauses begin with subordinating conjunctions or relative
pronouns. Sentences that begin with dependent clauses are either complex or compound-complex, so
you’re adding to your sentence variety.
Ex: Because he was terribly ill, John stayed home from school on Friday.
 Start with a phrase.
1. Prepositional phrase—act mainly as adjectives or adverbs
In the month of May, daffodils are in full bloom.
2. Gerund phrase—phrase acts as a noun
Ducking behind a tree protected the man from squirrel attacks.
3. Infinitive phrase—phrase acts as a noun, adjective, or adverb
To avoid squirrel attacks, try ducking behind a tree.
4. Participial phrase—phrase acts as an adjective
Ducking behind a tree, Marvin escaped the attacking squirrels
Directions: Combine the following sentences. 1) Use a dependent clause or phrase to introduce the
sentence. 2) Identify the strategy you’ve used. 3) You must use at least three different combination
1. Homer Simpson loves donuts. His neighbor, Ned Flanders, loves spinach.
2. I have never been to France. I am saving money in the hopes of going there someday.
3. The Jersey Shore is not at all what it seems to be on television. You have to go there to fully
appreciate the culture.
Sentence Combining
4. Mike Tyson once bit an opponent’s ear. His career did not last long after that incident.
5. Harper Lee is a recluse who rarely leaves her home. She resembles Boo Radley in many ways.
6. I hope the Governor allows us to cancel our make-up days. I do not want to come to school in June.
7. I also don’t want to come to school in March. I just don’t like coming to school at all.
Directions: Label the clauses in the paragraph below, and then identify sentence types.
1. My favorite singer, Bruce Springsteen, once lived in New Jersey. 2. He has been releasing
albums since the 1970’s, and he released the album The Rising in 2002. 3. I went to see him in concert
during his tour for this album. 4. He plays for three hours with few breaks because he wants to entertain
his fans. 5. He knows that people pay a lot of money for tickets to his shows. 6. I like knowing he feels this
way, and I love his music. 7. My favorite songs are “Rosalita” and “For You.” 8. I listen to these songs
when I’m sad, and they make me feel better.
Then, revise the paragraph, varying sentence construction and lengths.