Sentence Combining #3: Martha's Departure

Combining Sentences and Building Paragraphs With Adjectives and Adverbs

Martha's Departure
(Fuse/Getty Images)

In this exercise we'll apply the basic strategies outlined in Introduction to Sentence Combining.

Combine the sentences in each set into a single clear sentence containing at least one adjective or adverb (or both). Omit words that are needlessly repeated, but don't leave out any important details. If you run into any problems, you may find it helpful to review the following pages:

After completing the exercise, compare your new sentences with the original sentences in the paragraph on page two. Keep in mind that many combinations are possible, and in some cases you may prefer your own sentences to the original versions.

 

Martha's Departure

  1. Martha waited on her front porch.
    She waited patiently.
  2. She wore a bonnet and a calico dress.
    The bonnet was plain.
    The bonnet was white.
    The dress was long.
  3. She watched the sun sink beyond the fields.
    The fields were empty.
  4. Then she watched the light in the sky.
    The light was thin.
    The light was white.
    The sky was distant.
  5. She listened for the sound.
    She listened carefully.
    The sound was soft.
    The sound was familiar.
  6. A ship descended through the evening air.
    The ship was long.
    The ship was silver.
    The ship descended suddenly.
    The evening air was warm.
  7. Martha picked up her purse.
    The purse was small.
    The purse was black.
    She picked it up calmly.
  1. The spaceship landed in the field.
    The spaceship was shiny.
    It landed smoothly.
    The field was empty.
  2. Martha walked toward the ship.
    She walked slowly.
    She walked gracefully.
  3. Minutes later, the field was silent again.
    The field was dark again.
    The field was empty again.

 

After you have completed the exercise, compare your new sentences with the original sentences in the paragraph on page two.

 

Next Exercise
Sentence Combining: "The San Francisco Earthquake"

Here's the student paragraph that served as the basis for the sentence combining exercise on page one.

Martha's Departure (original paragraph)

Martha waited patiently on her front porch. She wore a plain white bonnet and a long calico dress. She watched the sun sink beyond the empty fields. Then she watched the thin, white light in the distant sky. Carefully, she listened for the soft, familiar sound.

Suddenly through the warm evening air a long silver ship descended. Martha calmly picked up her small black purse. The shiny spaceship landed smoothly in the empty field. Slowly and gracefully, Martha walked toward the ship. Minutes later, the field was again dark, silent, and empty.