Sentence Combining -         organizing sets of short, choppy sentences into longer, more effective ones.
                             However, the goal of sentence combining is not to produce longer sentences
                             but rather to develop more effective sentences--and to help you become a
                             more versatile writer.

                             Sentence combining calls on you to experiment with different methods of
                             putting words together. Because there are countless ways to build sentences,
                             your goal is not to find the one "correct" combination but to consider
                             different arrangements before you decide which one is the most effective.

An Example of Sentence Combining

Let's consider an example. Start by looking at this list of eight short (and repetitive) sentences:
                                        She was our Latin teacher.
                                          We were in high school.
                                                She was tiny.
                                        She was a birdlike woman.
                                              She was swarthy.
                                             She had dark eyes.
                                          Her eyes were sparkling.
                                           Her hair was graying.

Now try combining those sentences into three, two, or even just one clear and coherent sentence: in the
process of combining, omit repetitive words and phrases (such as "She was") but keep all of the original

Here are some sample combinations:

Our Latin teacher in high school was a tiny woman. She was swarthy and birdlike. She had dark, sparkling
eyes and graying hair.

When we were in high school, our Latin teacher was a tiny woman. She was swarthy and birdlike, with
dark, sparkling eyes and graying hair.

Our high school Latin teacher was a swarthy, birdlike woman. She was tiny, with dark, sparkling eyes and
graying hair.

Our Latin teacher in high school was a birdlike woman, tiny and swarthy, with graying hair and dark,
sparkling eyes.
Here are six basic qualities to consider when you evaluate your new sentences:

Meaning. As far as you can determine, have you conveyed the idea intended by the original author?

Clarity. Is the sentence clear? Can it be understood on the first reading?

Coherence. Do the various parts of the sentence fit together logically and smoothly?

Emphasis. Are key words and phrases put in emphatic positions (usually at the very end or at the very
beginning of the sentence)?

Conciseness. Does the sentence clearly express an idea without wasting words?

Rhythm. Does the sentence flow, or is it marked by awkward interruptions? Do the interruptions help to
emphasize key points (an effective technique), or do they merely distract (an ineffective technique)?

Here is a great PowerPoint for expanding on this topic:

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