Quiz on sentence combining

The quiz will ask you to combine sentences using adjectives, adverbs, and relative clauses.

Some relative clauses will be restrictive, others nonrestrictive. For a very short and clear explanation of restrictive & nonrestrictive clauses, see Restrictive Clauses at ESL Gold.

Combining sentences using adjectives

The cat napped on the windowsill.
The cat was black.
Combined: The black cat napped on the windowsill.

Combining sentences using relative clauses

Restrictive relative clause:
The bird is perched in the tree.
The bird is singing.
Combined: The bird which is perched in the tree is singing.
or:
The bird that is perched in the tree is singing.*

Nonrestrictive relative clause:
This china belonged to my mother.
I’ve always loved this china.
Combined: This china, which I’ve always loved, belonged to my mother.

Sentences drawn from the news and other sources:

Restrictive relative clause:
Some people shouldn’t throw stones.
Those people live in glass houses.
Combined: People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Restrictive  relative clause:
The NFL agreement doesn’t change the record.
The record belongs to the teams.
The teams voiced their displeasure.
Combined: The NFL agreement doesn’t change the record for the teams who voiced their displeasure.

Nonrestrictive relative clause:
The window air conditioning unit in our classroom is insanely loud.
The window air conditioning must be 20 years old.
Combined: The window air conditioning unit, which must be 20 years old, is insanely loud.

Nonrestrictive relative clause:
The agreement hinged on working out pension and retirement benefits for the officials.
The officials are part-time employees of the league.
Combined: The agreement hinged on working out pension and retirement benefits for the officials, who are part-time employees of the league.
Adapted from “Roger Goodell apologizes to fans” | Associated Press | 9/27/2012

Nonrestrictive relative clause:
Justice O’Connor co-authored the opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The opinion upheld Roe v. Wade.
Combined: Justice O’Connor co-authored the opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe v. Wade.
(Adapted from an Ann Coulter sentence quoted on Language Log)

* Two notes:
I myself like to use the word “who” to refer to animals and birds, but I’m in a minority.
American editors, teachers, and presumably professors strongly prefer the word “that” in restrictive clauses, to the point that many consider “which” an error. I disagree, but I’m in a minority. My advice: use that for restrictive clauses and which for nonrestrictive.

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