Please read Basic Writing Parts 1-3 (find under Writing Unit Readings). These are easy reading; I will summarize the highlights in my lecture. Complete and post the Sentence-level Worksheet (find under Writing Unit Readings). Download, write on and uplo

Writing

Grossmont College

Question Description

Five methods to connect sentences

Focusing on these parts of your writing should help you avoid run-on sentences (fused sentences or comma splices), fragments and other sentence-level issues. Attending to the connections you establish between sentences – the ideas you try to communicate to your reader – makes or breaks the writing communication.

If we can simplify our understanding of these various connections, we can hopefully better shape and structure the sentences we construct to clarify our thoughts.

Useful Definitions

Independent clause = complete sentence

Dependent clause = incomplete sentence (needs to be connected to an independent clause)

  1. The period. Easy enough, but if you miss the correct placement of a period, uncertainty abounds.
  2. The semi-colon. This is similar to a period, but writers misuse this frequently. What comes before and after a semi-colon HAS TO BE an independent clause (complete sentence). A semi-colon highlights the connection between the two sentences; this punctuation mark replaces a conjunction, in effect; this punctuation mark ensures the reader that you are still talking about the same subject. There is a little more to the semi-colon than meets the eye.

Ex: My grandmother seldom goes to bed this early; she's afraid she'll miss out on something.

“The semicolon allows the writer to imply a relationship between nicely balanced ideas without actually stating that relationship. (Instead of saying because my grandmother is afraid she'll miss out on something, we have implied the because. Thus the reader is involved in the development of an idea—a clever, subliminal way of engaging the reader's attention.)”

Yes, semi-colons are also used in lists, which probably coordinates with a colon.

Ex: We have come to expect several issues with this program: there is no guarantee of service; the payment process takes too long; the communication with students is awkward; and, finally, there is evidence that the program suffers from both sexism and racism.

Keep in mind that we are talking here about the semi-colon that acts as a conjunction in a compound sentence (made-up of two independent clauses).

  1. Coordinate Conjunction (FANBOYS). These are those extremely common words: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So. We use them all the time. They help you avoid run-ons and establish logic and clarity. For two given clauses, more than one might work, but only one is most effective.
  2. Subordinate Conjunctions. Look these up. You will find a list of these words you use all the time. They complicate the syntax of your writing, but basically just connect two independent clauses. Here’s the trick: when you use one of these conjunctions, like “although,” you make an independent clause a dependent clause. Holy cow! Now you have to connect that dependent clause to an independent clause.

The punctuation tip: if the subordinate conjunction is at the beginning of the sentence, there is a comma between the two sentences; if the subordinate clause goes between the two sentences, you do not need a comma.

Because our program has superb facilities, students go beyond basic classroom instruction.

Students in our program go beyond basic instruction because we have superb facilities.

The word “because” is the conjunction joining those two sentences (independent clauses). Put a period between those two sentences, and you will see the syntactical complexity. Also, in either sentence, what is the point the writer is trying to emphasize? How do you know?

  1. Conjunctive adverbs. Again, look this up. You will see a general list of words like “however,” “therefore,” etc. These, again, connect two sentences. Either a semi-colon or a period goes in front of this word and a comma comes afterwards. These are great “markers” or guides for the reader that help clarify a connection between ideas or a point the writer is trying to make.

In the examples below, underline each independent clause in each sentence. Also, identify the subordinate conjunction by drawing a circle around it, and apply any missing commas required to offset the subordinate clause containing the subordinate conjunction (If that sounds like a foreign language, welcome to language studies!). Remember the comma rule.

  1. Cassandra left the park because the rain had begun.
  1. While you might enjoy the feel of raindrops falling on your face I do not enjoy standing in this light drizzle.
  1. Because there is the slightest chance she will say no Bill decides not to ask Nancy to the dance.
  1. Grandma checked behind the recliner because her grandson, Luke, sometimes liked to hide a cookie or two behind it.
  1. Even though Lance tends to do well on most tests he was really worried about his calculus exam.

Fix the following sentences using two of the five methods above. Which ways are more effective? So, revise each sentence twice, using the two “best” methods from our “5 methods to connect sentences.”

  1. This clock has been in the attic for years you should check the battery.
  2. The captain seems indifferent about his team’s level of play the rest of the players are unmotivated.
  3. The writer has several really effective examples his personal story proves to be his strongest evidence.
  4. The leader did arrive and make his long-awaited announcement the crowd didn’t seem moved at all.
  5. We have yet another case of limited options this system appears flawed or broken.

Lastly, write five of your own compound and/or complex sentences. A compound sentence is made-up of two independent clauses (complete on their own) joined by a semi-colon, coordinating conjunction, or a conjunctive adverb; in other words, two complete sentences that connect, so you’re asked to use a coordinating conjunction, semi-colon or conjunctive adverb (however, therefore, indeed, for example, etc.) to connect them.

A complex sentence includes one independent clause and one dependent clause. #1-5 in the exercises above are all complex; a subordinating conjunction (if, when, although, because, etc.) is used in this case to join the two sentences.

So, write two compound sentences and three complex sentences from your own imagination. For ideas, write about your major, COVID, or what you expect for 2021 (or anything else for that matter). Do your best; this is just an exercise.Five methods to connect sentences

Focusing on these parts of your writing should help you avoid run-on sentences (fused sentences or comma splices), fragments and other sentence-level issues. Attending to the connections you establish between sentences – the ideas you try to communicate to your reader – makes or breaks the writing communication.

If we can simplify our understanding of these various connections, we can hopefully better shape and structure the sentences we construct to clarify our thoughts.

Useful Definitions

Independent clause = complete sentence

Dependent clause = incomplete sentence (needs to be connected to an independent clause)

  1. The period. Easy enough, but if you miss the correct placement of a period, uncertainty abounds.
  2. The semi-colon. This is similar to a period, but writers misuse this frequently. What comes before and after a semi-colon HAS TO BE an independent clause (complete sentence). A semi-colon highlights the connection between the two sentences; this punctuation mark replaces a conjunction, in effect; this punctuation mark ensures the reader that you are still talking about the same subject. There is a little more to the semi-colon than meets the eye.

Ex: My grandmother seldom goes to bed this early; she's afraid she'll miss out on something.

“The semicolon allows the writer to imply a relationship between nicely balanced ideas without actually stating that relationship. (Instead of saying because my grandmother is afraid she'll miss out on something, we have implied the because. Thus the reader is involved in the development of an idea—a clever, subliminal way of engaging the reader's attention.)”

Yes, semi-colons are also used in lists, which probably coordinates with a colon.

Ex: We have come to expect several issues with this program: there is no guarantee of service; the payment process takes too long; the communication with students is awkward; and, finally, there is evidence that the program suffers from both sexism and racism.

Keep in mind that we are talking here about the semi-colon that acts as a conjunction in a compound sentence (made-up of two independent clauses).

  1. Coordinate Conjunction (FANBOYS). These are those extremely common words: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So. We use them all the time. They help you avoid run-ons and establish logic and clarity. For two given clauses, more than one might work, but only one is most effective.
  2. Subordinate Conjunctions. Look these up. You will find a list of these words you use all the time. They complicate the syntax of your writing, but basically just connect two independent clauses. Here’s the trick: when you use one of these conjunctions, like “although,” you make an independent clause a dependent clause. Holy cow! Now you have to connect that dependent clause to an independent clause.

The punctuation tip: if the subordinate conjunction is at the beginning of the sentence, there is a comma between the two sentences; if the subordinate clause goes between the two sentences, you do not need a comma.

Because our program has superb facilities, students go beyond basic classroom instruction.

Students in our program go beyond basic instruction because we have superb facilities.

The word “because” is the conjunction joining those two sentences (independent clauses). Put a period between those two sentences, and you will see the syntactical complexity. Also, in either sentence, what is the point the writer is trying to emphasize? How do you know?

  1. Conjunctive adverbs. Again, look this up. You will see a general list of words like “however,” “therefore,” etc. These, again, connect two sentences. Either a semi-colon or a period goes in front of this word and a comma comes afterwards. These are great “markers” or guides for the reader that help clarify a connection between ideas or a point the writer is trying to make.

In the examples below, underline each independent clause in each sentence. Also, identify the subordinate conjunction by drawing a circle around it, and apply any missing commas required to offset the subordinate clause containing the subordinate conjunction (If that sounds like a foreign language, welcome to language studies!). Remember the comma rule.

  1. Cassandra left the park because the rain had begun.
  1. While you might enjoy the feel of raindrops falling on your face I do not enjoy standing in this light drizzle.
  1. Because there is the slightest chance she will say no Bill decides not to ask Nancy to the dance.
  1. Grandma checked behind the recliner because her grandson, Luke, sometimes liked to hide a cookie or two behind it.
  1. Even though Lance tends to do well on most tests he was really worried about his calculus exam.

Fix the following sentences using two of the five methods above. Which ways are more effective? So, revise each sentence twice, using the two “best” methods from our “5 methods to connect sentences.”

  1. This clock has been in the attic for years you should check the battery.
  2. The captain seems indifferent about his team’s level of play the rest of the players are unmotivated.
  3. The writer has several really effective examples his personal story proves to be his strongest evidence.
  4. The leader did arrive and make his long-awaited announcement the crowd didn’t seem moved at all.
  5. We have yet another case of limited options this system appears flawed or broken.

Lastly, write five of your own compound and/or complex sentences. A compound sentence is made-up of two independent clauses (complete on their own) joined by a semi-colon, coordinating conjunction, or a conjunctive adverb; in other words, two complete sentences that connect, so you’re asked to use a coordinating conjunction, semi-colon or conjunctive adverb (however, therefore, indeed, for example, etc.) to connect them.

A complex sentence includes one independent clause and one dependent clause. #1-5 in the exercises above are all complex; a subordinating conjunction (if, when, although, because, etc.) is used in this case to join the two sentences.

So, write two compound sentences and three complex sentences from your own imagination. For ideas, write about your major, COVID, or what you expect for 2021 (or anything else for that matter). Do your best; this is just an exercise.

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