Set III, #9


Smooth long sentences which convey a lot of information are really combinations of many short sentences. For example if you wanted to convey the information in the series of sentences listed below, how would you write it? (John Steinbeck's version of this cluster of statements is included at the end of this booklet.)

1. The Torres family had a farm.

2. The farm was about 15 miles below Monterey.

3. It was on the coast.

4. The coast was wild.

5. The farm was a few acres in size.

6. The acres were sloping.

7. The acres were above a cliff.

8. The cliff dropped to the reefs.

9. The reefs were brown.

10. The cliffs dropped to the waters.

11. The waters were white.

12. The waters were the ocean.

13. The waters were hissing.

Try your version here:

_________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

When you want to combine shorter units of information into longer ones, try some of the methods listed here. Use the signals in the parentheses.


a. Join sentences with "and," "but," "or," "for," "nor," "so," or "yet" and a comma.

Example John went to the store. Mary went to the library. (,AND) Result John went to the store, and Mary went to the library.

Now you try some.

1. My dog had twelve puppies. All of them died. (BUT) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

2. You can take his advice which isn't very good. You can try to figure out your own solution. (,OR) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

b. To make relationships clearer, join sentences with words like "however," "moreover," "therefore," etc. and a semicolon.

Example Tim found the dorm food tasteless, overcooked and uninteresting. He ate it anyway. (;HOWEVER,) Result Tim found the dorm food tasteless, overcooked, and uninteresting; however, he ate it anyway.

Now you try some.

1. When Phil came to class, he rarely paid close attention to lectures. His notebook was a collection of random phrases and interesting doodles. (;THEREFORE,) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

2. Traveling to Florida inn the winter is expensive. I went there anyway. (;NEVERTHELESS,) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

c. Join sentences by omitting a repeated subject.

Example Helen raised her pistol. She took careful aim (,) She squeezed off five rapid shots to the center of the target (,AND) Result Helen raised her pistol, took careful aim, and squeezed off five rapid shots to the center of the target.

Now you try some.

1. Parker's friends ate his food. They sprawled on his sofa. (,) They pretended to listen to what he said. (,AND) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

2. The fire raced through the abandoned warehouse. The fire leveled it in an hour. (,AND) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

3. The hunter scrambled onto the rock. He gently eased up his rifle. He methodically adjusted the sights. Then he squeezed off a perfect shot. ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________


Example I think the old man is cruel. The old man kicked the puppy. (WHO) Result I think the old man who kicked the puppy is cruel.

Now you try some.

1. My younger brother is a pest. He often trails after me. (WHO) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

2. Clara picked the flowers. The flowers soon wilted and died. (WHICH) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

3. The book was on the fireplace. I wanted but couldn't find it. (THAT) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

4. Gayle turned out to be the most reliable member of our team. We had never trusted Gayle. (WHOM) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

5. Most of the helicopters were already beyond repair. The terrorists destroyed the helicopters. (THAT) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

Now try omitting "WHO," "WHICH," or "THAT"

Example The history book covers much more than we can handle in a semester. We are using the history book. (THAT) Result The history book we are using covers much more than we can handle in a semester.

1. I gave away all the candy to the trick-or-treaters. Dad bought the candy. (THAT) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

2. The lady took all the honors at the speech contest. The young lady wore a purple pants suit. (WHO) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

3. ADJECTIVES -- before and after nouns

Example The horses drooped patiently in its traces. The horse was old. The horse was weary. Result The horse, weary and old, drooped patiently in its traces. (or) The weary, old horse drooped patiently in its traces.

Now you try some.

1. The waitress perched on the counter. The waitress was young. The waitress was sexy. ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ or ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

What can you do with: The puppy was lonely. The puppy was bedraggled. The puppy crouched at the feet of the man. The man was old. The man kicked it away. ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

4. DEPENDENT CLAUSES -- Because, When, If, Although, Since (etc.)

(Dependent clauses are moveable and can be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence.)

Example I began to rain. (BECAUSE) Mary came in the house. Result Because it began to rain, Mary came in the house. (OR) Mary came in the house because it began to rain.

Now you try some.

1. Carla came in the room. (WHEN) Everyone fell silent. ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ or ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

2. His wife had left him. (BECAUSE) His children were grown (BECAUSE) His business was falling (BECAUSE) He wanted to leave for Europe. ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

A CHALLENGE: How many different ways can you combine the following sentences?

1. The man gathered the boy into his arms.

2. The man was old.

3. The man was grief-stricken.

4. The man was certain (of) SOMETHING.

5. The boy was dying.

6. The man stumbled home.

7. He sank to his knees at home.

8. He prayed SOMETHING.

9. His son would recover. _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

1. Police officials returned from a tour.

2. The police officials were American.

3. The tour was of Japan.

4. They were impressed by Tokyo.

5. The crime rate is low in Tokyo despite SOMETHING.

6. Eleven-and-a-half million people live there. _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

1. A search revealed SOMETHING.

2. The search was conducted by the fire marshal's office.

3. Old rags had been stored near SOMETHING.

4. The rags were still damp with solvents.

5. The solvents were flammable.

6. The solvents were for cleaning.

7. Something seemed to be a heater.

8. The heater was small and portable.

9. The heater was fired by kerosene.

10. Beside a heater is a dangerous spot for anything flammable. _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

Answer to page 1 question:

The original sentence from John Steinbeck's short story "Flight" is:

"About fifteen miles below Monterey, on a wild coast, the Torres family had their farm, a few sloping acres above a cliff that dropped to the brown reefs and to the hissing white waters of the ocean."

Answers will vary

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