Friday, July 13, 2007

Sentence Combining 05

Question: Where can I find some ready-made sentence-combining exercises?

Answer: The Internet.

Here is the original paragraph by Borland from the essay entitled “Rain” from Twelve Moons of the Year.

Original paragraph by Borland: We talk of water shortages, yet water is one of the enduring constants of our environment. Man, not water, is the variable. And man himself has created the growing scarcity of clean water by his careless poisoning and pollution. Yet, rain is water, rain is wet. But like it or not, a rainy day is a blessing to the earth and everything that lives upon it.

This is how I would have broken its sentences into kernels:

RayS.’s attempt at creating kernel sentences from the original paragraph: We talk. We have water shortages. Water endures in our environment. Water is a constant in our environment. Man is the variable. Water is not the variable. Man has created scarcity. Clean water is scarce. Man poisons water carelessly. Man pollutes water carelessly. Rain is water. Rain is wet. Like it or not. A rainy day is a blessing. Rain is good for the earth. Rain is good for everything that lives.

I placed in bold face what I considered to be an interesting sentence structure.

To review: The purpose of sentence-combining exercises is to learn to vary sentence structure, to help make your sentences flow, to recognize and use sentence structures different from your usual patterns, to help start you writing when you’re blocked and to be part of your revision by checking to see if you can combine some of your sentences as you prepare your final draft. .

Creating your own sentence-combining exercises: You can create your own sentence-combining exercises by finding paragraphs from books, magazines and newspapers, breaking each sentence into it component ideas or kernels and then combining the kernels to try to reproduce the original paragraph. Ask yourself, “What have I learned about sentences from this exercise?” Collect sentences that are different from your usual sentence patterns.

For further practice: Suppose you don’t feel like making the effort to break down paragraphs into kernel sentences? Simple. Type “sentence combining” into the Google search engine and you will be greeted with 1,890,000 Web sites dealing with sentence combining. I checked the first 25 and just about every site gives example after example of kernel sentences that you can combine. One site even had “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” broken down into kernel sentences. Some of the sites accompany the kernel sentences with grammatical explanations. For me, grammatical terminology gets in the way. Others may welcome the opportunity to catch up on their grammar.

Next week: Transforming informal written expression into formal written expression.

All the best. RayS.

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