Your writing would appear monotonous and uninspiring if all of your sentences were brief and of equal length. One way of avoiding this is to combine sentences. By varying the structure of your clauses and the size of your sentences, you can keep the text alive and the reader awake. This section will explore some of the techniques we can use to combine sentences.
There are mainly four kinds of sentences:
1) Simple sentences
2) Complex sentences
3) Compound sentences
4) Compound – complex sentences
A compound sentence consists of two or more main or independent clauses. The clauses of a compound sentence are usually connected by a coordinating conjunction. Sometimes they are merely separated by a semicolon.
The most common coordinating conjunctions used to combine the clauses of a compound sentence are and and but. (The others are or, for, yet and so.)
- Donald took out his pen. He started writing.
- Donald took out his pen and started writing
As you can see the conjunction and merely adds one idea to another.
- Susie was tired. She went on working.
- Susie was tired but she went on working.
- Those memories are haunting. I don’t want to live without them.
- Those memories are haunting me but I don’t want to live without them.
Here the conjunction but joins two contrasting ideas.
A conjunction can connect subject with subject, verb with verb, complement with complement, or modifier with modifier.
In the example below, the conjunction connects two verbs:
- Those memories haunt me. Those memories don’t depress me.
- Those memories haunt me but they don’t depress me.
You can combine sentences by embedding one within another
A subordinating conjunction can take away a clause’s independence and make it dependent.
- She was depressed. She had lost her job.
- She was depressed because she had lost her job.
By using a verbal clause
You can combine two sentences by reducing one of them into a verbal clause.
- Those memories are haunting. They constantly flash through my mind.
- Those haunting memories constantly flash through my mind.
Subordinating One Clause to Another
Coordinating clauses simply link ideas. Subordinating clauses, on the other hand, establish a more complex relationship between ideas: they show how one idea depends on another.
- She is richer than her neighbours. She leads a miserable life.
- Although she is richer than her neighbours, she leads a miserable life.
- She was unhappy. She hadn’t heard from him.
- She was unhappy because she hadn’t heard from him.
Using Appositives to Connect Ideas
The appositive is probably the most efficient technique we have for combining ideas. An appositive is essentially a modifying clause from which a relative pronoun and a linking verb have been removed. An appositive often requires a pair of commas to set it off from the rest of the sentence.
- Tagore, who was an eminent Indian writer in English, was also a great painter.
- Tagore, an eminent Indian writer in English, was also a great painter.