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chapter 7.5 Combining Sentences: Mixing Methods to Combine Sentences

In normal speech, you can fit many ideas into one efficient sentence.

Compounding and embedding are both ways of fitting the edges of ideas to each other so that they connect smoothly and avoid unnecessary words. In the example below, the ideas in ten sentences can fit concisely into two sentences, for a total of fewer than 45 words.

Before combination
A constellation is a group of stars.
They are easily recognized.
They appear to be close together in the sky.
They appear to form a picture.
To see the picture, lines must be imagined between each star.
The lines are connecting them.
(Combine into a sentence of under 30 words)

Constellations are usually named.
The names are the names of animals.
If not, they're names of common objects.
If not, they're names of characters from mythology.
(Combine into a sentence of under 15 words)

After combination
A constellation is a group of easily recognized stars that appear to be close together in the sky and to form a picture if lines are imagined connecting them. Constellations are usually named for animals, common objects, or characters from mythology. (29 + 12 words)

To help you think about ways of combining sentences, print out a copy of Chart 13: Clause Connectors. This chart organizes conjunctions and dependent words according to categories of purpose. It also includes a third group of connectors, the transitional expressions, which are examined in more detail in Chapter 9. Consult this chart as you combine sentences in the application below.

Application 6

Click on the ESL icon at left to visit "Danger of Mixing Methods." When combining thoughts, decide which method to use for each combination. Practice these forms with a teacher or tutor.

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