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Combining Sentences for Better Writing

20 Techniques to Combine Sentences

1. Coordination (Using Conjunctions)

Coordination involves combining two or more independent clauses using coordinating conjunctions like "and," "but," "or," "nor," "for," "so," and "yet." When coordinating sentences, the resulting sentence carries equal importance for each independent clause.

Example:

  • John likes ice cream, and Mary prefers cake.

  • The sun was shining, but the wind was blowing fiercely.

Explanation: In both examples, two independent clauses are joined using coordinating conjunctions. The clauses maintain their individual significance and are equally relevant to the overall sentence.

2. Subordination (Using Subordinating Conjunctions)

Subordination involves joining an independent clause with a dependent clause using subordinating conjunctions like "although," "because," "since," "unless," "when," "where," etc. The dependent clause becomes less significant than the independent clause.

Example:

  • Although it was raining, we decided to go for a walk.

  • Since she was feeling unwell, she skipped the party.

Explanation: The subordinating conjunctions "although" and "since" connect the dependent clauses to the main clauses. The dependent clauses provide additional information that depends on the independent clause to give meaning to the sentence.

3. Parallelism

Parallelism refers to the repetition of grammatical structures within sentences or across sentences to create a balanced and harmonious rhythm.

Example:

  • She enjoys hiking, biking, and swimming.

  • He not only likes to read books but also enjoys watching movies.

Explanation: In the first example, the repetition of gerunds ("hiking," "biking," and "swimming") in parallel structure provides clarity and coherence. In the second example, parallelism is seen in the construction "likes to read... enjoys watching."

4. Apposition

Apposition involves placing a noun or noun phrase next to another noun to explain or describe it further. It adds additional information to the sentence.

Example:

  • My friend, John, is an excellent cook.

  • The city, New York, is known for its vibrant nightlife.

Explanation: In both examples, the noun phrases "John" and "New York" are in apposition to "my friend" and "the city," respectively. They provide additional details about the nouns they describe.

5. Relative Clauses

Relative clauses add extra information to a noun, usually beginning with relative pronouns like "who," "which," "that," "whom," or "whose."

Example:

  • The book that she borrowed from the library was interesting.

  • The girl who won the race is my sister.

Explanation: The relative clauses "that she borrowed from the library" and "who won the race" provide additional details about the nouns "book" and "girl."

6. Conjunction of Independent Clauses (Semicolon)

A semicolon can be used to join two closely related independent clauses without a coordinating conjunction. It emphasizes a stronger relationship between the clauses than a period would.

Example:

  • He loves to hike; she prefers to read.

Explanation: The semicolon emphasizes the contrast between the two independent clauses, indicating that the preferences of "he" and "she" are distinct.

7. Repetition

Repetition involves reusing words or phrases to emphasize a point or create a rhetorical effect.

Example:

  • I tried, and tried, and tried, but I couldn't solve the puzzle.

Explanation: The repetition of "tried" emphasizes the speaker's continuous effort to solve the puzzle.

8. Transition Words

Transition words or phrases like "however," "therefore," "additionally," "in contrast," etc., can be used to link sentences, showing relationships between ideas or presenting contrasting information.

Example:

  • She loves ice cream; however, she is lactose intolerant.

Explanation: The transition word "however" introduces a contrast between the speaker's love for ice cream and her lactose intolerance.

9. Conjunction of Sentences (Colon)

A colon can be used to introduce related information or a list.

Example:

  • She has three hobbies: painting, gardening, and cooking.

Explanation: The colon introduces the list of hobbies related to "she."

10. Passive Voice

Using passive voice changes the focus of the sentence from the subject to the object, providing a different perspective.

Example:

  • The car was repaired by John.

Explanation: In the passive voice, "the car" becomes the subject of the sentence, and "John" is the one performing the action.

11. Inversion

Inversion involves reversing the order of subject and verb, often used in questions or for emphasis.

Example:

  • Never have I seen such a beautiful sunset.

Explanation: In this sentence, the subject "I" and the verb "have" are inverted to add emphasis to the speaker's experience of the sunset.

12. Ellipsis

Ellipsis involves omitting words or phrases from a sentence, assuming the meaning is clear from the context.

Example:

  • She likes tea; he, coffee.

Explanation: The word "likes" is omitted after the semicolon, but it is understood that both subjects "she" and "he" like their respective drinks.

13. Parentheses

Parentheses are used to add additional information or clarify a point within a sentence.

Example:

  • I completed the task (with the help of my team) ahead of schedule.

Explanation: The information within the parentheses provides additional context about how the task was completed.

14. Em Dash

An em dash (—) can be used to set off a phrase or clause within a sentence to add emphasis or provide additional information.

Example:

  • The party—despite the rain—was a great success.

Explanation: The em dash sets off the phrase "despite the rain," adding emphasis to the fact that the party was successful despite adverse weather conditions.

15. Relative Pronouns as Sentence Connectors

Relative pronouns like "who," "which," or "that" can be used to connect sentences by forming a relative clause that provides additional information about the preceding noun.

Example:

  • The book that I read last week was captivating.

Explanation: The relative pronoun "that" connects the sentence to the preceding context and introduces additional information about "the book."

16. Infinitive Phrases

Infinitive phrases can be used to join sentences by expressing purpose or intention.

Example:

  • She woke up early to catch the sunrise.

Explanation: The infinitive phrase "to catch the sunrise" expresses the purpose of waking up early.

17. Adjective Clauses

Adjective clauses, also known as relative clauses, can be used to join sentences by describing the preceding noun.

Example:

  • The woman who lives next door is a doctor.

Explanation: The adjective clause "who lives next door" describes "the woman."

18. Direct Quotations

Direct quotations can be used to introduce a person's exact words and can connect sentences by adding direct speech.

Example:

  • He said, "I will be there on time."

Explanation: The direct quotation "I will be there on time" is introduced by the verb "said."

19. Absolute Phrases

An absolute phrase is a modifier that combines with a whole sentence and provides additional context or insight. It consists of a noun and a participle or a noun and an adjective.

Example:

  • The storm having passed, the children went outside to play.

Explanation: The absolute phrase "having passed" provides additional context about the storm in the sentence.

20. Gerund Phrases

A gerund phrase consists of a gerund (a verb form ending in -ing) along with any modifiers and complements. It can act as a subject, object, or complement in a sentence.

Example:

  • Swimming in the pool, the children enjoyed their summer vacation.

Explanation: The gerund phrase "Swimming in the pool" acts as the subject of the sentence.

21. Participle Phrases

A participle phrase consists of a participle (a verb form ending in -ing, -ed, or irregular forms) along with any modifiers and complements. It functions as an adjective, describing a noun or pronoun.

Example:

  • The broken window needs to be fixed.

Explanation: The participle phrase "broken window" describes the noun "window."

22. Conjunctive Adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs like "however," "consequently," "therefore," and "nevertheless" can be used to connect sentences, providing a transition or showing a cause-and-effect relationship.

Example:

  • The weather was terrible; therefore, the picnic was canceled.

Explanation: The conjunctive adverb "therefore" provides a logical connection between the two sentences.

23. Prepositional Phrases as Sentence Connectors

Prepositional phrases can be used as sentence connectors to show relationships between ideas, locations, or time.

Example:

  • In spite of the rain, the event was a success.

Explanation: The prepositional phrase "in spite of the rain" connects the sentence and shows the relationship between the rain and the success of the event.


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