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Contributors:Tony Cimasko.
Summary:

This resource provides guidelines for effectively combining shorter, simpler sentences into longer ones.

Combining Sentences

Writing shorter sentences is an easy strategy for getting your thoughts down fast when you’re writing first drafts, and for avoiding grammar mistakes, but in the end it weakens the effectiveness of your writing.  If you can combine simpler sentences into longer and more complex ones, your writing will have a lot more variety.  It will also help you to communicate more content to your audiences—when you combine sentences, you can efficiently tell your readers about the relationships between different things.

The following will give you some basic information on how to combine sentences, and then you will have the chance to practice sentence combining yourself.

Contributors:Tony Cimasko.
Summary:

This resource provides guidelines for effectively combining shorter, simpler sentences into longer ones.

Conjunctions and Coordination

Combining Sentences

Writing shorter sentences is an easy strategy for getting your thoughts down fast when you’re writing first drafts, and for avoiding grammar mistakes, but in the end it weakens the effectiveness of your writing.  If you can combine simpler sentences into longer and more complex ones, your writing will have a lot more variety.  It will also help you to communicate more content to your audiences—when you combine sentences, you can efficiently tell your readers about the relationships between different things.

The following will give you some basic information on how to combine sentences, and then you will have the chance to practice sentence combining yourself.

Conjunctions

Conjunctions are simple words that allow you to connect two sentences without having to change any of the words in the original sentences:

and, but, nor, or, so, yet, for

Example:  Maria created a résumé.  She copied it on expensive, high-quality paper.  Her prospective employer was not accepting resumés.

Revision:  Maria created a résumé, and she copied it on expensive, high-quality paper, but her prospective employer was not accepting résumés.

Coordination

These words work in ways that parallel the simple conjunctions listed above, but they are more complex.  The definitions of these words can overlap, so you want to be careful about how and when you use them.
consequently, therefore:  Something happened or something is true because of something preceding it.

Example:  Jonathan read the company website and articles about the company before his interview.  He was able to ask very good questions during his interview.

Revision:  Jonathan read the company website and articles about the company before his interview; therefore, he was able to ask very good questions during his interview.

furthermore, in addition, moreover:  Similar to the word “and,” but with more of a relationship to the first part of the sentence.

Example:  Soo-yeon checked the grammar in her college application essay twice.  She asked her neighbor to check the grammar one more time.

Revision:  Soo-yeon checked the grammar in her college application essay twice; in addition, she asked her neighbor to check the grammar one more time.

however: Just like the word “but,” only for longer sentences.

Example:  Miguel’s car didn’t start this morning.  He got a jump start from his neighbor and was able to make it to his appointment on time.

Revision:
  Miguel’s car didn’t start this morning; however, he got a jump start from his neighbor and was able to make it to his appointment on time.

indeed, in fact:  Similar to the word “and,” but there is a closer relationship to the first part of the sentence, and it extends the information in the first part of the sentence.

Example:  Priya seems to be a workaholic.  She spent the holiday in her office finishing the report.

Revision:  Priya seems to be a workaholic; in fact, she spent the holiday in her office finishing the report.

nevertheless:  Very similar to the word “but,” but the truth of what comes before “nevertheless” is emphasized.

Example:  All his friends have been praising the high quality of service in the new coffee shop for months.  When he went there, the server was quite rude.

Revision:  All his friends have been praising the high quality of service in the new coffee shop for months; nevertheless, when he went there, the server was quite rude.

then:  Something happening in sequence, after a previous event.

Example:  Wenyu carefully reviewed the credit cards offers she had received this month.  She chose the one with the best terms and completed the application.

Revision:  Wenyu carefully reviewed the credit cards offers she had received this month; then, she chose the one with the best terms and completed the application.

Contributors:Tony Cimasko.
Summary:

This resource provides guidelines for effectively combining shorter, simpler sentences into longer ones.

Discourse Connectors

Creating longer texts such as job application letters, college application essays, and reports requires you to string together many small and separate ideas into a larger, unified whole.  However, if you do not have discourse connectors, words and phrases and sentences to tie those separate ideas together, all you will have is fragments.

By using discourse connectors, you show your readers how everything relates to everything else—something that is absolutely essential if you are going to get your readers to completely understand your ideas.  The following will give you some basic information on discourse connectors, and then you will have the chance to practice the concepts yourself.

Words and Phrases

These words and phrases can simply be inserted at the beginning of a sentence that you want to more clearly associate with a previous sentence (or sentences). Here is a list of some discourse connectors:

consequently, despite this, therefore, furthermore, in addition, moreover, however, indeed, in fact, nevertheless, then

Example:  Miguel worked in sales for five years, and he worked another three in accounting.  He is eligible for a management position.

Revision 1:  Miguel worked in sales for five years, and he worked another three in accounting.  Therefore, he is eligible for a management position.

A number of these (consequently, therefore, however, in fact, nevertheless, then) can also be used in other positions in the sentence.   

Revision 2:  Miguel worked in sales for five years, and he worked another three in accounting.  He is therefore eligible for a management position.

Revision 3:  Miguel worked in sales for five years, and he worked another three in accounting.  He therefore is eligible for a management position.

Regardless of the arrangement, using these words and phrases makes the associations between sentences much clearer.  Consequently, they make your sentences less “choppy.”