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Building Sentences With Noun Phrases and Noun Clauses

Sentence Combining Exercises


Combine the sentences in each set into a single clear sentence with at least one noun phrase or noun clause. Turn all questions (interrogative sentences) into declarative statements, and eliminate any needless repetition.

When you are done, compare your sentences with the sample combinations on page two.

  1. One either has or does not have a mathematical mind.
    This is a common myth about the nature of mathematical ability.

  2. How does cross-country skiing differ most fundamentally from downhill skiing?
    It differs in the way you get yourself uphill.

  3. What will radar scanning be valuable for?
    It will detect modern waterways lying near the surface in arid areas.
    Geologists believe this.

  4. What does the American value?
    The American does not value the possession of money as such.
    The American values his power to make money as a proof of his manhood.

  5. What is the secret of a good life?
    One must have the right loyalties.
    One must hold them in the right scale of values.

  6. Your authority, if not already gone, is slipping fast.
    What is the best way to learn this?
    Help your eldest son pick a college.

  7. What is diplomacy?
    One does the nastiest thing in the nicest way.
    One says the nastiest thing in the nicest way.

  8. What should politicians be encouraged to do?
    They should stand for what they believe in.
    They should not formulate their principles on the basis of opinion polls.

  9. What is the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day?
    He can work.
    That is the saddest thing.

  10. How does propaganda work?
    It tricks us.
    It distracts the eye momentarily.
    It distracts while the rabbit pops out from beneath the cloth.

  11. Troubles come.
    That is not the real problem.
    We don't know how to meet troubles.
    That is the real problem.

  12. Do you have what you want?
    That is not happiness.
    Do you want what you have?
    That is happiness.

  13. Old people in India know something.
    They have a position of honor in the family.
    They will be needed in diverse matters.
    They will initiate a young bride into the ways and running habits of her new home.
    They will offer experienced business advice.
    They will gauge the proper size of a daughter's dowry.

  14. What is the purpose of life?
    Being happy is not the purpose of life.
    The purpose is to matter.
    The purpose is to be productive.
    The purpose is to be useful.
    The purpose is to have it make some difference that you lived at all.

  15. What kind of inner resources do we have?
    What imperishable treasures of mind and heart have we deposited in the bank of the spirit against this rainy day?
    The truth is this.
    When we are in trouble we discover these things.
    We discover them swiftly.
    We discover them painfully.

  16. How does a porcupine fight?
    He gets his head under a rock or log.
    He raises his quills.
    He whips his tail about at lightning speed.
    His tail is quill-filled.
    He waits for someone to come and get it.

  17. Is work useful?
    Or is work useless?
    Is work productive?
    Or is work parasitic?
    In practice nobody cares.
    Work shall be profitable.
    That is the sole thing demanded.

  18. Do something before you make a major investment in bottled water.
    Check with the manufacturer as to its source.
    Check with the manufacturer as to the type of processing. Check with the manufacturer as to results of tests of its content and purity.
    Dr. Robert Harris suggests this.
    Dr. Robert Harris is a water specialist at the Environmental Defense Fund.

  19. What kind of person are you?
    How do you feel about others?
    How will you fit into a group?
    Are you assured?
    Or are you anxious?
    To what degree do you feel comfortable with the standards of your own culture?
    Nonverbal communications signal these things to members of your own group.

  20. What is the teacher's job?
    It is not to implant facts.
    It is to place the subject to be learned in front of the learner.
    It is to awaken in the learner the restless drive for answers and insights.
    These answers and insights give meaning to the personal life.
    The teacher must awaken through sympathy.
    The teacher must awaken through emotion.
    The teacher must awaken through imagination.
    The teacher must awaken through patience.

When you have completed the exercise, compare your sentences with the sample combinations on page two. Keep in mind that in most cases more than one effective combination is possible.

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