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Sentence Embedding & Expanding

Sentence Embedding & Expanding
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  • 0:01 How to Build Sentences
  • 1:09 Combining Modifiers
  • 2:47 Combining Sentences
  • 4:02 Adding Phrases
  • 4:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

Does your writing rely too heavily on simple sentences? Watch this video lesson to learn how to build more complex sentences using sentence embedding.

How to Build Sentences

Most people easily learn how to build simple sentences. The basics of every sentence is a subject, or a person or object doing an action, and a predicate, which is the action and any other descriptors. For example, 'Katie swims.' is a complete simple sentence. The subject is 'Katie' and her action is 'swims'.

Now imagine if all writing contained only simple sentences. More complicated ideas and messages would never be able to be relayed. Every writer needs to be able to create more complex sentences in order to convey complex ideas. Building those kinds of sentences can be more difficult.

One way to do this is to use embedding, which occurs by inserting information into a sentence in order to give more detail or a clearer message. Sentence embedding expands your sentences to create fuller ideas and better communication. There are many methods for sentence embedding, but let's look at three common methods.

Combining Modifiers

Sometimes sentence embedding can come from combining modifiers. Modifiers are words that clarify or describe nouns, adjectives or verbs. When you combine modifiers in your sentences, you are adding words from one sentence that describe or modify words in another sentence.

Let's look at an example of how to do this type of embedding. Look at these two sentences:

  • Baseball leagues are very profitable.
  • Football leagues are very profitable.

These two sentences have similar messages, but one is about baseball and the other, football. The only difference is the modifier 'football' describing the type of league in the second sentence. To embed this, put the two modifiers together to make one complex sentence:

  • Baseball and football leagues are very profitable.

Sometimes you can also add in modifiers in other places in the sentence. For example, look at these two sentences:

  • Video game sales have grown exponentially.
  • Video game sales have grown recently.

'Exponentially' and 'recently' are modifiers describing the verb 'grown'. To create one expanded sentence, you can simply input one of the modifiers into the other sentence.

  • Video game sales have recently grown exponentially.

Note that, in this case, the modifiers can be placed in more than one spot. For example,

  • Recently, video game sales have grown exponentially.

is also an acceptable sentence.

Combining Sentences

The second way to expand sentences consists of combining whole sentences. Sometimes, due to the construct of the sentence, you cannot easily insert one or two words into one of the sentences to embed ideas. In this case, you can put two whole sentences together. There are two ways of combining two complete sentences.

The first is to use a comma and conjunction. Remember, a conjunction is a word that connects words or phrases. 'And', 'but', and 'or' are conjunctions. Let's look at these two sentences to see how to use a comma and conjunction:

  • Katie swims at her school every day.
  • She has won several competitions.

Since these two sentences are closely related, we can combine them by inserting a comma and a conjunction:

  • Katie swims at her school every day, and she has won several competitions.

The second way to combine these sentences is to insert a semicolon. Semicolons connect two complete sentences to show close relationships.

  • Katie swims at her school every day; she has won several competitions.

Be sure to note that the second sentence is not capitalized when using a semicolon.

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