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Technology Tip of the Month

March, 1997: Concordancing Activity
Connecting Clauses

by Maria Dantas-Whitney

The Tech Tip this month was created by Maria Dantas-Whitney at the ELI. The examples are from Conc, a free Macintosh program available at CELIA, but the activity will work with any concordancer. (See a description of Conc and download it if you wish.) You can connect to a simple concordancer online at http://titania.cobuild.collins.co.uk/form.html , Cobuild's corpus site.

When you write in English, you create a series of clauses. You can connect two clauses with periods, commas and semicolons, and/or you can use words such as coordinators, subordinators and transition words. Below are some of the most common connecting words in English.

Coordinators

Transition Words and Phrases

Subordinators

(Coordinators are used to connect two independent clauses.)

(Transition words and phrases are also used to connect two independent clauses. They show more specifically than coordinators how the ideas of the two clauses are related.)

(Subordinators are used to connect independent and subordinate clauses.)

for

or

and

yet

nor

so

but

also

however

besides

nevertheless

further

in contrast

in addition

even so

moreover

otherwise

although

because

even though

since

after

if

before

unless

therefore

next

thus

then

as a result

finally

when

while

until

When you are joining two clauses, you must pay attention to the punctuation conventions of the English language. With the help of the concordancer, you can figure out what these punctuation conventions are.

  1. Using the concordancer, build a concordance for some of the coordinators listed in the chart (and, but, so, etc.). Write down some of the examples you find. Be careful! Make sure you find examples of coordinators that are joining two clauses, not just two words! (See some examples.)

    Now look at your examples. What do they have in common? What kind of punctuation must we use when we combine two clauses with a coordinator?

  2. Using the concordancer, build a concordance for some of the transition words and phrases listed in the chart (therefore, however, moreover, etc.). Write down some of the examples you find. Again, make sure they are joining two clauses, not just words! (See some examples.)

    Now look at your examples. What do they have in common? What kind of punctuation must we use when we combine two clauses with transition words and phrases? Are there several possibilities? What are they?

  3. Using the concordancer, build a concordance for some of the subordinators listed in the chart (although, because, when, etc.). Write down some of the examples you find. Here again, you must find examples of subordinators that are joining clauses, not just words. (See some examples.)

    Now look at your examples. What do they have in common? What kind of punctuation must we use when we use subordinators? What are the different possibilities?

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If you have questions, comments, or for more information, contact Deborah Healey, dhealey AT uoregon DOT edu

http://www.deborahhealey.com/techtips/march1997.html
Last updated 26 June, 2009