“What are the characteristics of a good sentence?”
You might answer: “Sentences are good if they are descriptive,” or “A sentence is a good sentence if it contains a complete thought,” and finally, after thinking about and remembering past lessons, "Short sentences are good sentences."
Sometimes the best sentence for the purpose is a short sentence. Also, a short clear sentence is better than a long, confusing one. However, research shows that as students progress, their sentence length grows in direct proportion. Beginners write very short sentences, intermediates write longer sentences, and advanced students and skilled native speakers write even longer ones. Professional writers writers the longest sentences of all.
But how are those mature sentences structured?
Working with a variety of structures has the additional advantage of helping you work through grammar and syntax problems that convince many teachers to counsel students to simplify their lives by chopping up their sentences.
Research shows that sentence combining is the most effective technique to teach sentence level maturity.
• Too many short sentences in a paragraph will make it sound choppy and keep the ideas expressed in the paragraph from flowing properly.
• Too many clauses combined using coordinating conjunctions, such as and, but, and so, can make your paragraph repetitious. Over-coordinating might also result in the grouping of too many unrelated ideas.
• To fix these problems, use a variety of sentence combining techniques.
About Sentence Combining (some with exercises)