GED Reasoning Through Language Arts Practice Test: Combining Sentences & Organizing Paragraphs

Compound sentences are used to join ideas.  There a few things to look out for when writing compound sentences.  Coordinating conjunctions combine independent clauses by using the conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so (the acronym FANBOYS will help you remember!).


I like blueberries.  Gerald likes strawberries.

These two sentences can be combined by rewriting:

I like blueberries, but Gerald likes strawberries.

By adding a comma and a coordinating clause, a compound sentence is made.  You can confirm that the coordination is correct by asking yourself: “Can these sentences work alone?”  If the answer is yes, then they coordinate.

Often a writer wants to combine ideas and eliminate wordiness.  This can be done without always using compound sentences.  For example, “I wanted more apples.  I did not want oranges.”   You could combine into a compound sentence using a comma and a coordinating conjunction.  However, you could also rewrite it without a comma this way: “I wanted more apples but no oranges.”  No comma is needed because there are no longer two independent clauses, each of which needs a subject and a verb.

Subordinating conjunctions:

after although as as if because before even if
even though if if only inasmuch just now since
now that provided that rather than since supporting that though
unless until when where whereas wherever
whether whoever whomever which while

These subordinating conjunctions are used to make complex sentences, which is an independent clause and a dependent clause.  A subordinate clause means it depends on another part of the sentence to help it make sense.  Generally, the subordinate clause comes at the end of the sentence, but it can also be at the beginning of the sentence.  If the subordinate clause is at the beginning , a comma is necessary before the independent clause.


I went to the hardware store after I broke the door handle.

In this sentence, the subordinate clause is at the end of the sentence.  However, it could be put first with the necessary comma:

After I broke the door handle, I went to the hardware store.


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