1.11.10

Combining Sentences


Tool Number 1:

Effective transitions work to guide your reader through your points. Think of these important tools as the connection between your points. Proper usage of transitional language better aligns your audience with the purpose of your message.

Transitional language, subordination, coordination and pronouns act like stepping stones—they guide your reader through your points and help to clarify your message.


Understanding how and when to use academic transitions comes with practice.

Below I have listed the most frequently used transitions and classified them by the job they do best. 


To show Contrast: however, nevertheless, yet, although
To add More Information: moreover, furthermore, in addition to
To Emphasize: certainly, indeed, in fact, of course
To add Evidence: for example, for instance, thus, specifically
To Summarize: therefore

Use transitions to introduce examples: (NOTICE THESE PHRASES REQUIRE A COMMA!)

For example,
Specifically,
For instance,

To elaborate or clarify your points: 
After all,
In other words,
Ultimately,
Actually,

Click the link below to read more about using these important terms:


More than You'd ever Want to Know about Transitions
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Tricky Punctuation:
What is the difference in punctuation in regards to the word, "however," in each sentence?

1) Traditionally the educational system tends to be the gate way of success; however, analyzing this system will reveal a deeper meaning. Lives on The Boundary, by Mike Rose, is a book to help explain how individuals, who have difficulties in reading and writing, struggle in the American education system. Rose, who teaches English class in UCLA, wrote this book to inform students, educators, policymakers and parents about how struggle affects outcomes in literature, reading, and writing, especially for those with language barriers.


2) New York Times, September 11, 2013: "One concern about how to implement the deal, however, involves how to protect international inspectors who come to Syria."

Notice the punctuation. What changed? Why?

Review of the Semi-Colon and Dependent and Independent Clauses

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Tool Number 2: 

Combining Sentences Using FANBOYS

During revision, one of the most important tasks for a writer to accomplish is to get rid of redundancy and streamline points using a variety of sentence structure and punctuation tools.


One of the most common ways to combine ideas into one sentence is to use FANBOYS.

FANBOYS is an acronym for Coordinating Conjunctions:
For
And
Nor
But
Or
Yet
So

Coordinators join two independent clauses that are equally important. Coordinators require a comma in most cases. Short sentences offer the only exception to this rule.

If you need to correct comma splice errors or run-on sentences, consider using a FANBOY. Watch this:  What is a Comma Splice error? 

FANBOYS classified by how they are used in a sentence:

But and Yet show contrast and concession.
For shows cause or reason
So is a result
or, nor, either...or...neither...nor shows a choice or option.

Tool Number 3: Use Subordinators to create cohesion in your writing.

Another way to combine sentences is to use subordination

A subordinator joins two elements to form one sentence. One element (the dependent clause) requires another element (the independent clause) to complete its meaning.

A subordinator doesn't have to come between two clauses; it may introduce a clause at the beginning of the sentence.

Be careful: Subordinators are common causes of fragments. Watch this Video to learn about fragments.
When you use a subordinator you are linking a dependent clause to a related independent clause.

Shows Contrast and Concession:
Although
Though
In spite of the fact
Despite the fact that
Even though
Whereas
While

Examples:
I asked students to read all three essays even though they are only required to write about one essay.

Which is the dependent clause? Which is the independent clause?

Notice that you can switch this sentence around:

Even though they were only required to write about one essay, I asked students to read all three essays.

Which is the dependent clause? Which is the independent clause?

Notice: When the dependent clause comes at the beginning, use a comma. However, you don't need a comma when the dependent clause comes at the end.

Whereas Rich points out that women have had to overcome many obstacles, Malcolm X explains that African Americans have faced even more overwhelming oppression, suffering and pain.

Shows cause/reason:
Because
Since
As
In that
Now That

Examples:
Because I read Anne Lamott's essay on the importance of rough drafts, I'm no longer able to justify writing only one draft of my paper.

Since they read Donald Murray's article on how important it is to look critically at your own writing, many students have experimented with deleting sentences and rearranging information.

Shows Condition:
Unless
If
Even if
Whenever
Until
As
As long as
In the event that

Examples:
If a student only reads part of one essay, then he may miss out on an idea that could empower him for the rest of his life.

Many students believe they are in for a lifetime of manual labor unless they focus on education.

Time Sequence and purpose:
As soon as
So that
In order that
In that
Provided that
Before
After
When
While
Now that
Since
Until
Whenever
Once
As

Examples:

Many writers procrastinate on assignments so that they will have a built-in excuse for accomplishing less than their best work.


After the semester started, many students found that the pace of the course was difficult.


As assignments start piling up, the number of students who are stressed out increases dramatically.


Tool Number 4: Repetition of Key Words and Phrases

In Technical Writing, key terms help to focus your reader on the point. For example, if you are writing about sustainability, using the term more than once keeps the reader focused on this concept throughout your document—which is a good thing. Although many of these tools build sentence variety, and you have learned that you want to eliminate redundancy in your writing, don't overlook the power of repeating key terms throughout a technical document or report in order to re-connect the audience with your focus. 

Repeating words and phrases can also work to emphasize a point.

 For example:
   My embarrassment stemmed not from the money lost but from the notoriety gained.
   She wanted her audience to remember the protest song and to understand its origin.
   The team vowed that they would support each other, that they would play their best, and that they   would win the tournament.
  
"If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me."
                                        — Martin Luther King, Jr. "Letter from Birmingham Jail."


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Tool Number 5: Use PARALLELISM



Writing in parallel structure helps 

keep your reader stay on track with your points. 

You don't want to lose your reader 

by confusing them with inconsistent verb forms. 


As you build more complex sentences and experiment with sentence variety in your writing, you will inevitably come across questions of parallelism. In their book, Harbrace Essentials, authors Cheryl Glenn and Loretta Gray define parallelism as "the use of grammatically equivalent structures to clarify meaning and emphasize ideas" (103). 


Watch this Video for Parallelism information.

During revision always make sure verbs are parallel in form. Always check for parallelism in sentences joined with: and, but, or 

For example,
Not Parallel: Whether mortgage rates or the building codes are changed, the real estate market should remain strong this spring.

Parallel: Whether mortgage rates or building codes change, the real estate market should remain strong this spring. 


Always check to make sure Verb form and tense are consistent:
Not Parallel: People all around me are buying, just remodeled or want to sell their houses.
Parallel: People all around me are buying, remodeling, or selling their houses.


The authors explain that "parallel elements make your writing easy to read" (105).  But they suggest that the occasional break from the parallel pattern can be used to emphasize a point.


For example:
"My friend Allison is kind, modest and the smartest mathematician in the the state."
Rather than "My friend Allison is kind, modest and good at math."





Link to Obama Op-Ed. Notice how this famous writer puts all of these tools into play in order to explain and develop his argument.

Written Quiz:

How would you make these sentences parallel? 
  1. When she hired new employees for her department, she looked for applicants who were intelligent, able to stay focused, and able to speak clearly. 
  2. In her report, she wrote that her most important achievements were attracting new clients and revenues were higher.
  3. At meetings she was always prepared, participating actively yet politely, and generated innovative responses to department concerns.
  4. Helen was praised by the vice president and her assistant admired her.
  5. When asked about her leadership style, she said that she preferred collaborating with others rather than to work alone in her office. 

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