In this final activity, you will be using information you learned earlier in this lesson. Remember that simple sentences are not incorrect or bad. However, depending on them too much tends to make your writing less interesting. When your writing contains a variety of sentence types—simple, complex, compound, and compound-complex—it flows more smoothly and sounds more mature.

In an article from from the New York Times, Dan Frosch writes about wild horses in the western part of the United States and the fact that many can’t roam freely. Using what you have learned in this lesson, highlight all the simple sentences in the excerpt. You should find seven. (Note: Some of the sentences have been changed from the original for the purpose of this activity.) You can read the original article "Wild Horses are Running Out of Room, On and Off Range" by clicking on the link.

A photograph of a herd of wild mustangs running on the plains

Source: Mustangs, Bureau of Land management, Wikimedia

icon for an interactive exercise




take notes icon Now that you have completed the activity, try combining some of the sentences to see if you can make the excerpt flow more smoothly. Use your notes to rewrite the sentences as directed. There will be several ways to rewrite them, but try to rewrite each sentence in two different ways. When you’re finished, check your understanding to see some possible responses.

  1. Copy and paste sentences (1) and (2) into your notes and combine them in two different ways.
  2. Copy and paste sentences (3) and (4) into your notes and combine them in two different ways.
  3. Copy and paste sentences (7) and (8) into your notes and combine them in two different ways.
  4. Copy and paste sentences (10) and (11) into your notes and combine them in two different ways.



Check Your Understanding

Sample Responses

  1. Sentences (1) and (2)
    • The herd of wild horses clopped cautiously toward the strangers in their pen; a chestnut mustang leaned in for a closer look, sniffing and snorting curiously.
    • The herd of wild horses clopped cautiously toward the strangers in their pen, while a chestnut mustang leaned in for a closer look, sniffing and snorting curiously.

  2. Sentences (3) and (4)
    • Another inched backward as her black eyes flashed with fear.
    • As her black eyes flashed with fear, another inched backward.

  3. Sentences (7) and (8)
    • “They have all their needs met here, but they don't have their freedom,” said Fran Ackley, who oversees the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program in Colorado.
    • Fran Ackley, who oversees the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program in Colorado, said, “They all have their needs met here, but they don't have their freedom.”

  4. Sentences (10) and (11)
    • A symbol of the American frontier, tens of thousands of wild horses roam across forgotten stretches of the rural West, and they are at the heart of an increasingly tense dispute over their fate.
    • A symbol of the American frontier, tens of thousands of wild horses roam across forgotten stretches of the rural West; they are at the heart of an increasingly tense dispute over their fate.

How did you do? Were you able to successfully combine the sentences in two different ways? Take a look at the passage as it was originally written by the author.

A photograph of a herd of wild horses in the Nevada desert

Source: Herd of wild horses at the Nevada Test Site 3, National Nuclear Security Administration, Wikimedia

The herd of wild horses clopped cautiously toward the strangers in their pen. A chestnut mustang leaned in for a closer look, sniffing and snorting curiously. Another inched backward, her black eyes flashing with fear.

Horse advocates like Carol Walker view the long-term strategy of the Bureau of Land Management as untenable.*

For many, this would be their first human contact, beyond the workers who feed them at this 80-acre holding center, 100 miles southwest of Denver.

“They have all their needs met here. Except their freedom,” said Fran Ackley, who oversees the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program in Colorado. “I can’t say if they want it or not.”

Long a totem of the American frontier, the tens of thousands of wild horses who roam across forgotten stretches of the rural West are at the heart of an increasingly tense dispute over their fate. The bureau says their numbers continue to grow at an unmanageable rate, despite years of removing wild horses from the range to enclosed pastures so that wildlife and livestock can share the land.

Horse advocates contend that the government’s approach has not only failed, but is also needlessly cruel. And they say the horses should be able to live out their lives freely.

*This paragraph appears in the caption of the original article.

When you read this article as it was originally written and examine the sentences, you can see that the author used a variety of sentence types. Remember that there’s nothing wrong with using simple sentences; you just don’t want to use them too often. Now, you will know how to use a step-by-step strategy to help you proofread your writing with a critical eye and revise it when necessary.