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How to Use Pronouns to Combine Sentences

There are many ways to combine sentences in English. One useful trick for combining short sentences legally involves using the pronoun connection. Using pronouns to combine sentences is second-nature to native English speakers. If you are learning English, using pronouns can give your speaking and writing a more relaxed and natural cadence. Check out these combinations:

Sentence 1: Amy read the book.
Sentence 2: The book had a thousand pictures in it.
Joining: Amy read the book that had a thousand pictures in it.

Here the pronoun that stands in for the book.

Sentence 1: The paper map stuck to Wilbur’s shoe.
Sentence 2: We plan to use the map to take over the world.
Joining: The paper map, which we plan to use to take over the world, stuck to Wilbur’s shoe.

Here the relative pronoun which represents the map.

Sentence 1: Margaret wants to hire a carpenter.
Sentence 2: The carpenter will build a new ant farm for her pets.
Joining: Margaret wants to hire a carpenter who will build a new ant farm for her pets.

Who always represents a person or animal.

Sentence 1: The tax bill was passed yesterday.
Sentence 2: The tax bill will lower taxes for the top .00009% income bracket.
Joining: The tax bill that was passed yesterday will lower taxes for the top .00009% income bracket.
Alternate joining: The tax bill that was passed yesterday will lower taxes for Bill Gates. (Okay, that was a loose interpretation.)

That, which, and who are pronouns. In the combined sentences, each takes the place of a noun. These pronouns serve as thumbtacks, attaching a subordinate or less important idea to the main body of the sentence. For grammar trivia contests: that, which, and who (as well as whom and whose) are pronouns that may relate one idea to another. When they do that job, they are called relative pronouns.

Relative pronouns — like real relatives, at least in some families — can cause lots of problems. Therefore, the SAT and ACT hit this topic hard.

Combine these sentences with a pronoun.

Sentence 1: Charlie slowly tiptoed toward the venomous snakes.
Sentence 2: The snakes soon bit Charlie right on the tip of his nose.

Answer: Charlie slowly tiptoed toward the venomous snakes, which soon bit Charlie right on the tip of his nose. The pronoun which replaces snakes in sentence 2.

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