Three Methods to Combine Sentences

Three Methods to Combine Sentences

Writing a variety of sentences helps make your writing more interesting and readable.

One way to get more variety into your writing is to combine sentences, and there are various methods in which you can do this correctly.

Coordinating conjunctions

One method for combining sentences is to use a coordinating conjunction. There are seven of them: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. Some students remember them by using the mnemonic FANBOYS.

One point to remember is that you require a comma when joining two complete sentences (independent clauses).

Examples using coordinating conjunctions

          John loves chocolate cake. He hates lemon squares.

          John loves chocolate cake, but he hates lemon squares.

          We should get the report done. The manager will be furious.

          We should get the report done, or the manager will be furious.

Note that if what follows is not a complete sentence (independent clause), you would not use a comma.

          Johnny loves chocolate cake but hates lemon squares.

Subordinating conjunctions

ConjunctionsAnother method is to subordinate one of your ideas or sentences. Not all thoughts or clauses need the same weight, so you can use an independent clause for the more important point and a dependent clause for the less important point. (Note that the previous sentence has two coordinating conjunctions [so, and]. Only one of them requires a comma in this sentence.)

There are lots of subordinating conjunctions, but listed below are some very useful ones.

Subordinating conjunctions

Expressing condition: although, unless, if, because.

Expressing time: before, after, when, while, until.

Expressing location: where, wherever.

Expressing cause-effect: because, since, as, so.  

Examples using subordinating conjunctions

I heard about the Halloween party. I was so excited.
When I heard about the Halloween party, I was so excited.        
The Delta Grocery Store does not look inviting. The produce there, however, is excellent.
Although the Delta Grocery Store does not look inviting, the produce there is excellent.

Compound subjects and compound predicates

The last method to look at is using compound subjects and/or compound predicates. You can often combine your subjects or your predicates, or both to make one sentence out of two or more short sentences.

runningExamples using compound subjects and/or compound predicates

Luisa ran the races at school. Emily also ran the races.
Luisa and Emily ran the races at school.
Diego drove to the store. He bought several snacks. Then he rushed to his friend’s house.
Diego drove to the store, bought several snacks, and rushed to his friend’s house.

Final word for today

These are not the only methods for joining sentences. If you are interested in learning more, check out my Udemy courses online with the link here or below.

The best time to try these methods is after you have written your rough draft. In this way, “overthinking” won’t slow you down and create writer’s block. Go through your material to see if you have some short sentences that might do well to be combined into longer sentences using one of the methods discussed above.

Having said this, there is nothing wrong with short sentences if they are well structured, and they deliver your message. Only make changes when you feel that the new version is better.

Above all, enjoy the writing process and keep writing!

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