|Home||Bonus Chapter: Sentence Variety|
Short, choppy sentences can often be combined by reducing or combining them with phrases. The most commonly used phrases are appositives, participial phrases, prepositional phrases, infinitives, and gerunds.
An appositive is a noun phrase that is set beside another noun and identifies or explains it. When two related sentences describe or identify the same subject, one of the sentences can usually be made into an appositive:
Tiger Woods is one of the most outstanding golfers in the history of the sport. He attended Stanford University.Tiger Woods, one of the most outstanding golfers in the history of the sport, attended Stanford University.
(combined using an appositive)
Two sentences can sometimes be combined by changing one of them into an adjective phrase by using an –ing or –ed word, or participial phrase.
Ichabod Crane sang hymns as he rode home late at night. He was trying to appear nonchalant.
Trying to appear nonchalant, Ichabod Crane sang hymns as he rode home late at night.
(combining by using an –ing word)
Memorial Day is celebrated on May 30. It is dedicated to the memory of those who died serving their country.
Celebrated on May 30, Memorial Day is dedicated to the memory of those who died serving their country.
(combined by using an –ed word)
You can sometimes combine choppy sentences by using a prepositional phrase.
During the safety inspection the highway patrol officer looked under the car. She looked inside the engine compartment. She looked behind the wheels.
During the safety inspection the highway patrol officer looked under the car, inside the engine compartment, and behind the wheels.
(combined using prepositional phrases)
By changing one of the verbs to the infinitive (the to form of the verb), you can often combine short sentences.
Sheila wears very little makeup. She emphasizes her clear complexion
To emphasize her clear complexion, Sheila wears very little makeup.
(combined by using an infinitive)
Verbs ending in –ing are called gerunds. By adding –ing top a verb so that it can function as a noun, you can often combine sentences.
Elizabeth listened carefully to the lectures. She took notes on her reading. She found that these techniques helped her to understand the material.
Elizabeth found that listening carefully to the lectures and taking notes on her reading were techniques that helped her to understand the material.
(combined by using a gerund)