Writing: Sentence Building

Introduction

If you can build, connect and sequence sentences well, expressing ideas clearly is much easier. Maybe you have the vocabulary, you know the grammar you want to use, but saying exactly what you want to say seems more complicated. In this class, we'll see how simple it is to build relatively complex sentences by building on basic phrases.

b1plussentencebuildinglarge

Click “Start” to reload.


As you can see, most of the phrases in the previous text contain 4-6 words, with other words added such as ‘Although’ to contrast, or ‘small’ to give detail. Let’s start then, with some really small phrases.

Connecting Small Phrases


1. Look at phrases 1-3 below.
Can you connect them to make one sentence?
Keep the phrases in the same order as they appear.
Use the minimum number of words possible.
Click ‘Answer’ below when you’ve finished.
1. hot day
2. she came
3. she visited us
  • Answer
Suggested sentences:
It was a hot day when she came to visit us.
*One hot day, she came to visit us.
We could change ‘to visit’ to ‘and visited’ in these sentences. In fact, there are many variations we could create around these phrases, such as:
Although it was a very hot day,she still decided to come and visit us.
We’ll now go on to look at adding information to basic phrases.

*Thanks to Cristina Fortes for adding this example.

Adding Information

Click “Start” to reload.

Click “Start” to reload.

Noticing the position of words and phrases in a sentence will help you produce more accurate and more fluent English.
  • ✓ LLT Tip ✓
LLT Tip for sentence building practice.
Take a sentence of 15-20 words in English from anywhere on the web. Make sure it’s easy to understand. Decide which words are essential for the general meaning. Write them down. Take your paper away and after 10-15 minutes, rewrite the sentence. When you’ve finished, go back to the webpage and compare what you wrote with the original. It’s a good exercise for structuring sentences and the mistakes you make will show you what you need to work on.