Writing Center Tutorial Three

Introduction to Sentence Combining

The following exercises can help you write sentences that are consistently more readable and grammatical. The exercises help us see the basic units of sentence structure, yet the exercises don’t rely upon grammatical terms. With steady practice, sentence combining can lead to genuine improvement in your writing.

Combine the sentences to make them more readable.Take advantage of the hints in parentheses.


The pitcher looked up carefully. (,)
The pitcher glanced at second base. (,)
Then he threw a fastball that the batter missed completely.

The pitcher looked up carefully, glanced at second base, then threw a fastball that the batter missed completely.

Jill raised the Colt .45. (,)
She took thoughtful aim. (, AND)
She landed four shots to the bull’s eye.

Jill raised the Colt .45, took thoughtful aim, and landed four shots to the center of the target.


  1. William rushed into the room.
    He dived at the hiding villain.
    He missed.
    He flew out of the third story window.
  2. They walked slowly.
    They were watching the moon.
    They were talking about it.
    They were ignoring the crowded streets.
    They were pretending not to see the drivers who went past.
  3. Emily truly believed it.
    Her grandfather was innocent.
  4. Princess Aristae fell in love with a peasant.
    The peasant did not own any property.
  5. Monica easily disabled her assailant.
    Monica was a karate expert.
  6. The girl was a fourth grader.
    The girl was named Kay Ellis.
    She called her teacher and talked with him. (TOLD)
    She could not attend the last day of school. (THAT)
    The day was reserved for a special program.
    The program was on preventing cruelty to animals.
    She had been bitten on the arm by a dog. (BECAUSE)
    She was in the hospital. (AND)
  7. Night came. (WHEN)
    We sat huddled in blankets.
    The blankets were thick and warm.
    The air was cold and clear.
    It was time to turn in. (LONG BEFORE)
  8. The protesters burst through the barricades. (, ING)
    The protesters forced the police back to the door.
  9. It was a wet, stormy day.
    The wind was buffeting my face. (WITH)
    The wind chilled me thoroughly. (ING)

If you need help, please contact the Writing Center at (708) 596-2000 ext. 2336.