Connecting Word Matching Exercise: Coordinating Conjunctions, Subordinating Conjunctions, and Transitions

Purpose: To get students to think about logical relationships of connecting words.

Preparation: Print out two sets of the sentences below, cutting one up and leaving the other whole as a guide to the sets of sentences. To make them more durable, you could paste them onto index cards cut in half. Find a chart that shows logical relationships of the three types of connecting words that students can refer to during the activity.

Activity: In class, explain that you have sentences that are cut in half and that students will have to find matches. Show one pair that does not work, then another that you have set aside beforehand that does work. Pass the cards out, then have students look for pairs. You will have to end the activity before all pairs are found.

Students then read out pairs they have and discuss logical relationships to see if the combinations they have formed make sense. If they match, it helps to place the pairs on the chart below since some pairs work, but if they are not the exact set of matches below, you will end up with some orphan cards at the end. If not a match, ask around if anyone has a better match. If a better match isn’t found, set the cards aside until its correct match is found. At some point, the teacher may have to move some matches around so that all cards are used. After all pairs have been read, have students read out the orphan halves and look for the matches.

Then the teacher can write one example sentence of each connecting word and elicit punctuation rules. I like to use this memory trick. If it is a small word of one or two letters (coordinators), you only need a drop of glue, a comma. I draw a picture of a tube of glue and the single drop. If it is a big, formal word (transitions), you will need lots of glue: a semi-colon or period before the word and a comma after it.

The rule for subordinators is tougher. You will need to teach dependent clauses (after I have finished my homework) and independent clauses (I’m going to Great America). Then show to sentences and elicit, “If the independent clause comes first, no commas. If the dependent clause comes first, comma.”

I love rock and roll, for

the rhythms move me.

I’m going to Great America after

I have finished my homework.

I love rock and roll, and

I love modern rock.

I’m going to Great America although

I haven’t finished my homework.

I don’t love rock and roll, nor

do I like modern rock.

I’m going to Great America as long as

I don’t have too much homework.

I love rock and roll, but

I don’t like Elvis.

I’m going to Great America because

the teacher didn’t assign homework.

Either I love rock and roll,

or I love the counter culture it represents.

I’m going to Great America now in case

I don’t have time once the semester starts.

I love rock and roll, yet

I have never bought any albums.

I’m going to Great America so that

I can forget about my homework.

I love rock and roll, so

I have bought a lot of albums

I’m going to Great America where

I plan to finish my homework waiting in lines.

Some students don’t like writing essays; however,

they can enjoy writing them if they realize they can be creative.

Some students don’t like writing essays; moreover,

they don’t like studying grammar.

Some students don’t like writing essays; nevertheless,

they have to write them to succeed in college.

Some students don’t like writing essays; consequently,

they sometimes wait until the last minute to write them.

Some students don’t like writing essays; on the other hand,

they like expressing themselves creatively in writing.

Some students don’t like writing essays; similarly,

some students don’t like math.

Some students don’t like writing essays; in contrast,

other students find writing essays very fulfilling.

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