Chapter 11 Coordination
Combining Clauses into Sentences:
Knowing how to combine sentences is essential when writing. If you were unable to properly combine sentences, each sentence would be very short, simple and boring. Unfortunately, the rules for combining sentences can be somewhat complex. This worksheet helps with some examples of sentences to combine so you can get lots of practice combining sentences.
Sentence Combining: The Basics
Combine the following sentences with a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).
1) She went to work. (but) She did not want to go.
2) The scientists trained him well. (and) They helped him find a job when his training was through.
3) Polar bears are fierce, territorial animals. (and) Grizzly bears are the same.
4) Mark told me not to come with him. (and yet) He looked longingly at me as I left.
5) I will not give in to you. I will not let you push me around.
6) He loves to drive during the day. (so) They will let him drive before 9 pm.
7) My cat was hungry. (and) It had not eaten since breakfast.
8) They couldn’t think of anything better to do. (so) They decided to babysit for the family.
9) A book can be a lot of fun to read. (and) A book can be boring.
10) That movie looks great! I would love to come to see it with you.
Sentence Combining: Using Subordinating Conjunctions
Combine the following sentences with a subordinating conjunction (after all, although, because, before, however, therefore). This may require a semicolon!
11) They made plans to go. (however) They ended up not being able to make it.
12) Some say that dogs are friendlier than cats. (however) Cats can also be extremely loving.
13) What we’ve accomplished is a milestone. (;) Let’s raise our glasses for a toast.
14) Dr. Johnson ate a big meal. (and then) He went to work afterward.
15) I simply cannot get out of bed. (because) I am too tired.
16) Don’t give me a hard time. (;) We’ve been close friends for so long.
17) We don’t believe the way you do. (because) Our culture is very different from yours.
18) I can’t believe that you would do something so crazy. (although) If I were you I might do the same.
19) The two weren’t always this close. (however) When she died, they became closer.
20) I refused to talk about it. (therefore) I was put in jail.
Sentence Combining: Subjects and Verbs
The following sentences share either the same subject or the same verb. Combine the sentences however you can.
21) Mr. Brown walked to the store. (and) His pet monkey Ralph walked along with him.
22) The cactus is thirsty. (because) The cactus is not getting enough sunlight.
23) My mug was in the cupboard. (however) My mug is no longer in the cupboard.
24) Drew’s dog jumped into the air. (and) Janine’s dog jumped into the air as well.
25) The book fell to the floor. (and) It opened to a page I had never read before.
26) Your face has scars on it. (however) Your face looks friendly.
27) Why did you say that word? It was extremely rude.
28) Everyone is lying to me! They’re trying to keep me from learning what they know.
29) Stop dancing like that. (;) Sit back down in your chair.
30) Thomas’ friends seemed so strange. (;) They were hanging up every time they called.
Sentence Combining: Paragraphs
Sentences: Simple, Compound, and Complex
A common weakness in writing is the lack of varied sentences. Becoming aware of three general types of sentences — simple, compound, and complex — can help you vary the sentences in your writing.
The most effective writing uses a variety of the sentence types explained below.
A simple sentence has the most basic elements that make it a sentence: a subject, a verb, and a completed thought.
Examples of simple sentences include the following:
Joe waited for the train. “Joe” = subject, “waited” = verb
The train was late. “The train” = subject, “was” = verb
Mary and Samantha took the bus. “Mary and Samantha” = compound subject, “took” = verb
I looked for Mary and Samantha at the bus station. “I” = subject, “looked” = verb
Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station early but waited until noon for the bus.
“Mary and Samantha” = compound subject, “arrived” and “waited” = compound verb
The use of compound subjects, compound verbs, prepositional phrases (such as “at the bus station”), and other elements help lengthen simple sentences, but simple sentences often are short. The use of too many simple sentences can make writing “choppy” and can prevent the writing from flowing smoothly.
A simple sentence can also be referred to as an independent clause. It is referred to as “independent” because, while it might be part of a compound or complex sentence, it can also stand by itself as a complete sentence.
A compound sentence refers to a sentence made up of two independent clauses (or complete sentences) connected to one another with a coordinating conjunction. Coordinating conjunctions are easy to remember if you think of the words “FANBOYS”:
For And Nor But Or Yet So
Examples of compound sentences include the following:
Joe waited for the train, but the train was late.
I looked for Mary and Samantha at the bus station, but they arrived at the station before noon and left on the bus before I arrived.
Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon, and they left on the bus before I arrived.
Mary and Samantha left on the bus before I arrived, so I did not see them at the bus station.
Coordinating conjunctions are useful for connecting sentences, but compound sentences often are overused. While coordinating conjunctions can indicate some type of relationship between the two independent clauses in the sentence, they sometimes do not indicate much of a relationship. The word “and,” for example, only adds one independent clause to another, without indicating how the two parts of a sentence are logically related. Too many compound sentences that use “and” can weaken writing.
Clearer and more specific relationships can be established through the use of complex sentences.
A complex sentence is made up of an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses connected to it. A dependent clause is similar to an independent clause, or complete sentence, but it lacks one of the elements that would make it a complete sentence.
Examples of dependent clauses include the following:
because Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon
while he waited at the train station
after they left on the bus
Dependent clauses such as those above cannot stand alone as a sentence, but they can be added to an independent clause to form a complex sentence.
Dependent clauses begin with subordinating conjunctions. Below are some of the most common subordinating conjunctions:
after although as because before even though
if since though unless until when whenever whereas wherever while
A complex sentence joins an independent clause with one or more dependent clauses. The dependent clauses can go first in the sentence, followed by the independent clause, as in the following:
When the dependent clause comes first, a comma should be used to separate the two clauses.
Because Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon, I did not see them at the station.
While he waited at the train station, Joe realized that the train was late.
After they left on the bus, Mary and Samantha realized that Joe was waiting at the train station.
Conversely, the independent clauses can go first in the sentence, followed by the dependent clause, as in the following:
When the independent clause comes first, a comma should not be used to separate the two clauses.
I did not see them at the station because Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon.
Joe realized that the train was late while he waited at the train station.
Mary and Samantha realized that Joe was waiting at the train station after they left on the bus.
Complex sentences are often more effective than compound sentences because a complex sentence indicates clearer and more specific relationships between the main parts of the sentence. The word “before,” for instance, tells readers that one thing occurs before another. A word such as “although” conveys a more complex relationship than a word such as “and” conveys.
The term periodic sentence is used to refer to a complex sentence beginning with a dependent clause and ending with an independent clause, as in “While he waited at the train station, Joe realized that the train was late.”
Periodic sentences can be especially effective because the completed thought occurs at the end of it, so the first part of the sentence can build up to the meaning that comes at the end.
Beginning Sentences with “And” or “Because”
Should you begin a sentence with “and” or “but” (or one of the other coordinating conjunctions)?
The short answer is “no.” You should avoid beginning a sentence with “and,” “or,” “but,” or the other coordinating conjunctions. These words generally are used to join together parts of a sentence, not to begin a new sentence.
However, such sentences can be used effectively. Because sentences beginning with these words stand out, they are sometimes used for emphasis. If you use sentences beginning with one of the coordinating conjunctions, you should use these sentences sparingly and carefully.
Should you begin a sentence with “because”?
There is nothing wrong with beginning a sentence with “because.”
Perhaps some students are told not to begin a sentence with “because” to avoid sentence fragments (something like “Because Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon” is a sentence fragment), but it is perfectly acceptable to begin a sentence with “because” as long as the sentence is complete (as in “Because Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon, I did not see them at the station.”)