4th Grade - Combining Phrases

Combining phrases
Combine short, related sentences with appositives, participial phrases, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases.
The ability to combine simple related sentences into compound, complex sentences using appositives, participial & prepositional phrases, and parts of speech.

Sample Problems


What is a simple sentence? (contains one independent clause and no dependent clauses)


What is a compound sentence? (contains at least two independent clauses, often combined by a conjunction or semicolon)


What do simple and compound sentences have in common? (they both have basic sentence structure with subjects and predicates)


What is the difference between simple and compound sentences? (compound sentences are more complicated, often more lengthy)


What does combine mean? (unite, join, merge, etc.)

Learning Tips


While driving, during commercial breaks, or at any other free moment, say simple related sentences out loud and have the child identify a way to combine them (options: appositives, participial & prepositional phrases, and parts of speech).


Copy a page from a book, article, or magazine. White out or cover up several words all throughout the text. Give the page to your child to have them fill in the blanks. Then compare how close their answers were to the original, particularly whether they simplified sentences, made them complex sentences, or left them the same.


Cut out words from magazines, newspapers, etc. Be sure to include all parts of speech (e.g. nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, etc.). Give them to the child to see how many sentences they can make by arranging and rearranging the words. They should make complete simple, compound, and complex sentences.


Double Sentence Stems – In writing and/or in speech (verbally), give the child several sentence stems or prompts and have them complete the sentence. Make them closely related so that the child must use appositives, participial & prepositional phrases, adjectives and adverbs to combine them.


If I could go anywhere, I would ____________________. My favorite place is ___________.

If I could go anywhere, I would travel to my favorite place, India, because I love the culture, people, and food there. (appositives)

My favorite type of food is ______________. My favorite meal is _____________________.

My favorite type of food is the best-tasting ever – Indian, which is why my favorite meal includes naan. (participial phrase)

My family _____________________. My mother __________________.

My family has many members including my mother, our inspirational, beautiful caretaker. (adjectives)

A dog is an animal _________________________________. A cat ____________________.

The dogs stay on that side of the house while the cats stay in their own territory. (prepositional phrases)

Bicycles are great for ______________________. Motorcycles are ____________________.

Bicycles are great for quickly and cheaply getting somewhere, but motorcycles are furiously fast. (adverbs)


Q & A – Ask the child questions and have them respond orally (out loud) in complete, complex sentences. This is important to practice so that their speech is grammatically proper. They should not be able to answer in one sentence, not repeated sentences that begin with, “And…”. Instead, push them to combine their thoughts into a single sentence.

Sample Questions and how answers could start:

Q: Why is it important to get enough rest?

A: It is important to get enough rest because _________.

Q: When was the last time you enjoyed a movie? Why?

A: The last time I enjoyed a movie was _____________.

Q: How many times should you brush your teeth every day? Why?

A: It is necessary to brush your teeth twice a day because__________________.

Extra Help Problems


What is a dependent clause? (a part of a sentence, or an “incomplete” sentence that cannot stand alone in order to be a complete sentence)


What is an independent clause? (a complete sentence that contains a subject and predicate)


What is a subject? (the main topic of a sentence – usually a noun – a person, place, or thing)


What is a predicate? (the rest of the sentence besides the subject – it includes the action – the verb – in the sentence)


What must a sentence include in order to be complete? (a subject and a predicate)


What are appositives? (describing words referring to the same person or thing in a sentence)


What are participial phrases? (they have the form or function of a verb and can be used as both an adjective and a verb)


What are adjectives? (words that describe nouns)


What are adverbs? (words that modify verbs, adjectives, or adverbs)


What are prepositional phrases? (a phrase beginning with a preposition followed by a noun or pronoun)


What are examples of appositives? (The Nutcracker saw Claire and ran, he knew not what to do, for he loved her.)


What are examples of participial phrases? (loving – The grandmother loved all of her children. (verb), The teddy bear was well loved. (adj.); sharing – My mom told my brother and I we better be sharing the remote control. (verb), He was such a kind, sharing person. (adj.), etc.)


What are examples of adjectives? (lovely, ugly, horrible, grand, etc.)


What are examples of adverbs? (playfully, modestly, fast – at times, etc.)


What are examples of prepositional phrases? (over the hill; on his game; around the clock, etc.)


What is a complex sentence? (a compound sentence with more than one subject and predicate)


What is context? (the surrounding information, words, situation, etc.)



Related Games


Copyright ©2009 Big Purple Hippos, LLC