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Constructing Sentences - Review

Review

If you only use short simple sentences, your writing will seem too simple for academic work. By connecting short sentences to each other, you can make your writing more academic and more interesting.

Here is a quick summary of how sentences are constructed.

The Clause

A clause is like a simple sentence. It expresses a complete idea. A clause must have both a subject and a verb.

Here are some examples of clauses:

  • the student walked across the concourse
  • Jessica has been playing the piano all night
  • the table was set for dinner
  • the baby cried

The following examples are not clauses:

  • excited about the party
  • on the table at the front of the room
  • after working all night
  • the woman in the red dress

Note: For more explanation, see the simple sentences guide.

Connecting Clauses

There are 4 common ways that we join clauses to each other.


Type 1: Use a comma and a coordinator (remember the FANBOYS acronym!)

clause

, for

, and

, nor

, but

, or

, yet

, so

clause

Example: She walked up to the man, and he spoke to her.


Type 2: Use a subordinator between the two clauses

clause

before

 since

 when

 if

 while

although

even though

 whereas

because

as

clause

Example: He did his homework before he turned on the TV.


Type 3: Use a subordinator at the beginning of a sentence and a comma after the first clause

since

when

 if

while

although

even though

 whereas

 because

 as

clause clause

Example: Before he turned on the TV,  he did his homework.


Type 4: Use a semi-colon, a conjunctive adverb or phrase, and a comma

clause

; therefore,

 ; as a result,

 ; otherwise,

 ; consequently,

 ; however,

 ; on the other hand,

 ; in contrast,

 ; nevertheless,

 ; in addition,

 ; for example,

; furthermore,

; in fact,

clause

Example: It was raining; therefore, she took her umbrella.