PSAT Writing : Combining Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Combining Sentences

       (1) Kabuki performances first appeared in 1603, when a woman named Izumo no Okuni began performing a new style of drama and dance routines outside of Kyoto. (2) This new form of entertainment quickly got popular throughout Japan. 

       (3) Kabuki was known for its extravagant costumes and elaborate make-up. (4) The stage was what really set it apart from other forms of theater at the time. (5) It included a walkway protruding from the stage out through the audience.  (6) Actors would use this walkway to make surprise entrances. (7) More advanced features were added, such as rotating stages and trapdoors to lift actors onto or down from the stage almost instantly. (8) All of these were used to create dramatic emphasis. 

Which is the best way to combine Sentences 3 and 4?

Possible Answers:

Kabuki was known for its extravagant costumes and elaborate make-up, however, the stage was what really set it apart from other forms of theater at the time.

Kabuki was known for its extravagant costumes and elaborate make-up, but the stage was what really set it apart from other forms of theater at the time.

Known for its extravagant costumes and elaborate make-up, the stage was what really set it apart from other forms of theater at the time.

Kabuki was known for its extravagant costumes and elaborate make-up, and the stage was what really set it apart from other forms of theater at the time.

Kabuki was known for its extravagant costumes and elaborate make-up, because the stage was what really set it apart from other forms of theater at the time.

Correct answer:

Kabuki was known for its extravagant costumes and elaborate make-up, but the stage was what really set it apart from other forms of theater at the time.

Explanation:

The conjunction should illustrate the contrast between the two sentences. While "however" is a contrasting conjunction, in context, it would need to begin a new sentence after a semicolon.

Example Question #2 : Combining Sentences

     (1) The sport of lacrosse, while perhaps not as widely popular today in the United States as baseball or football, is far older. (2) These games served many important cultural functions. (3) They were used to settle disputes between tribes, as festival events, and to train young men to become warriors and hunters.

     (4) Hundreds of men and women from rival tribes or villages would gather to play at once. (5) The playing field was sometimes several miles long. (6) The original game was very different from the organized sport played today. (7) A single game would be played from dawn until sunset, and be followed by dancing and feasting.

     (8) Modern, standardized versions of lacrosse started to be played in the 1850s and soon became very popular throughout Canada and the United States. (9) For over a century, it has been one of the most widely played sports in high schools in both nations.

Which is the best way to combine Sentences 4 and Sentence 5?

Possible Answers:

Hundreds of men and women from rival tribes would gather to play at once and they would play on fields sometimes several miles long.

Gathering at once were hundreds of men and women from rival tribes, who played on fields sometimes several miles long.

Hundreds of men and women from rival tribes would gather at once to play on fields sometimes several miles long.

On playing fields sometimes several miles long, gathering to play would be hundreds of men and women from rival tribes.

Hundreds of men and women from rival tribes or villages would gather to play at once, but the playing field was sometimes several miles long.

Correct answer:

Hundreds of men and women from rival tribes would gather at once to play on fields sometimes several miles long.

Explanation:

Simplicity is the best option here. Keep the sentence direct, eliminate redundancies, and complicate the sentence structure as little as possible. The correct answer is "Hundreds of men and women from rival tribes would gather at once to play on fields sometimes several miles long."

Example Question #3 : Combining Sentences

(1) Cowboys have long been a symbol in American society. (2) On the one hand, they represent American strength, adventurousness, and indefatigability. (3) But they also call up images of oppression, racism, and exploitation. (4) However, both of these romanticized views of cowboys betray the dull routine and everyday realities of the lives that many cowboys lived.

(5) Some cowboys worked at the same farms for much of their lives, while others periodically moved cattle from place to place without ever participating in a gun fight or being harangued by unexpected or hidden enemies. (6) Today, their figurative descendants can still be found living in agricultural areas, working hard to ensure that steady supplies of milk, meat and other agricultural products find their ways to stores and your dining room table.

Which of the following is the best option for combining Sentences 2 and 3?

Possible Answers:

On the one hand, they represent American strength, adventurousness, and indefatigability, on the other, they call up images of oppression, racism, and exploitation.

On the one hand, they represent American strength, adventurousness, and indefatigability, because they call up images of oppression, racism, and exploitation.

On the one hand, they represent American strength, adventurousness, and indefatigability; moreover, on the other, they call up images of oppression, racism, and exploitation.

On the one hand they represent American strength, adventurousness, and indefatigability on the other, they call up images of oppression, racism, and exploitation.

On the one hand, they represent American strength, adventurousness, and indefatigability; on the other hand, they call up images of oppression, racism, and exploitation.

Correct answer:

On the one hand, they represent American strength, adventurousness, and indefatigability; on the other hand, they call up images of oppression, racism, and exploitation.

Explanation:

Using a semicolon to connect the two clauses is the best option here. In the sentence's original form, the second sentence is actually a fragment because it is a dependent clause because it begins with the conjunction "but." If the period at the end of the first sentence were changed to a comma, it would be correct to use a conjunction like "but"; however, the answer choice that does this uses the conjunction "because," which suggests that the sentences are related as cause and effect when this isn't the case. Of the two answer choices that introduce a semi-colon, one adds the extraneous word "moreover"; the simpler option is the correct one.

Example Question #4 : Combining Sentences

Which is the best way to combine Sentences 2 and 3? 

[1] State-level legislative attempts to regulate immigration, both legal and illegal, over the previous twenty years reflect the diverse perspectives of multiple groups. [2] Activist groups contributed their own perspectives toward immigration legislation. [3] These activist groups included many diverse voices. [4] Ultimately, however, the majority of proposed legislation regarding immigration in Arkansas failed to become law and most proposed immigration legislation died in committee before reaching a floor vote.

Possible Answers:

Their own perspectives toward immigration legislation were contributed, including many diverse voices.

Many diverse voices were perspectives contributed toward immigration legislation from activist groups.

Many diverse voice perspectives were contributed toward immigration legislation by activist groups.

Activist groups contributed their own perspectives toward immigration legislation like many diverse voices. 

Activist groups that included many diverse voices contributed their own perspectives toward immigration legislation.

Correct answer:

Activist groups that included many diverse voices contributed their own perspectives toward immigration legislation.

Explanation:

The best way to combine the two sentences is "Activist groups that included many diverse voices contributed their own perspectives toward immigration legislation." This combination reflects the main point of both sentences.  

The other sentence options were all more ambiguous and/or awkwardly phrased:

The sentence combination "Their own perspectives toward immigration legislation were contributed, including many diverse voices" implies that the names of activist groups are pieces of immigration legislation.

Another incorrect answer, "Activist groups contributed their own perspectives toward immigration legislation like many diverse voices," also implies that activist groups are pieces of immigration legislation.

Another incorrect option, "Many diverse voices were perspectives contributed toward immigration legislation from activist groups," does not make sense because it implies that each of the activist groups were "perspectives."

"Many diverse voice perspectives were contributed toward immigration legislation by activist groups" is not the best answer because "Diverse voice perspectives" does not make sense and the entire sentence is uses the passive voice.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: