Edit Primer Sentences

How can short sentences be effectively combined?

Use Coordinating Conjunctions

Simple sentences about a single topic may also be combined by using coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) and/or modifying clauses.

  • Series of related sentences: Central Park is an urban park that is 843 acres. It is located in New York City. The park has several attractions including a zoo.
    • Note that the subject of all of these sentences is Central Park. The sentences can be combined into one sentence using a coordinating conjunction and a modifying clause since all three ideas are of equal importance.
  • Revised: Central Park, an urban park in New York City, is 843 acres and has several attractions, including a zoo.

Coordination means that you use one of the coordinating conjunctions, or FANBOYS, to join your sentences together. The coordinating conjunctions are as follows:

F=For
A=And
N=Nor
B=But
O=Or
Y=Yet
S=So

So, in our example again, we can combine these sentences:

  • The hour was late. The child was tired.

To form these sentences:

  • The hour was late, and the child was tired.
  • The hour was late, so the child was tired.
  • The child was tired, for the hour was late.

When you connect two sentences with coordination, you will need a comma before the coordinating conjunction. Also, be sure to choose the coordinating conjunction with the correct meaning for your sentence. The tendency is to use “and” as a default connecting word, but you can vary your conjunctions according to your intended meaning, and make your writing more interesting.

Use Subordination

Subordination means that you connect two sentences using a subordinating conjunction. Unfortunately, there is no convenient mnemonic device to help you remember all of these words, but they are often transition words like:

  • because
  • although
  • until
  • since
  • after
  • before

Using subordination to connect your sentences allows you to explain the relationship between your two sentences instead of connecting them with a shorter coordinating conjunction.

So, in the continuing example with these sentences:

  • The hour was late. The child was tired.

We can form these sentences:

  • Because the hour was late, the child was tired.
  • The child was tired because the hour was late.
  • Since the hour was late, the child was tired.
  • The child was tired since the hour was late.
  • As a result of the late hour, the child was tired.

When you connect two sentences with subordination, you may need a comma, but only if the dependent clause (the part of the sentence with the subordinating conjunction) is first. If the dependent clause is at the end of the sentence, you will not need a comma.