Language Unit: Clauses conjoined with but (I went home, but Mary stayed at the Mall.)
This unit was written for middle to upper elementary students, however, if you have younger or older students who need to develop this structure, you can use a similar format with age-appropriate materials and activities.
As you develop this language component, use only language structures and concepts the students already know. They should be familiar with clauses conjoined by and.
Tell the students what they will learn and why
- Review with the students sentences using and, for
- Hannah went to the mall.
- Her little brother went with her.
- Hannah went to the mall and her little brother went with her.
- Remind them why some sentences are joined by and.
- Have a
chart prepared with three pairs of sentences, for example:
- I went to the mall.
- My little brother stayed home.
- Toby went to the gym to meet Jeff and Ramon.
- They did not come.
- Sara wanted to go swimming.
- Mother said, “No, it’s too cold.”
- Students read the first two sentences. Tell them
you will join the sentences using but. Write the new
sentence on the board:
- I went to the mall, but my little brother stayed home.
- Point out that you changed the period at the end of the first sentence to a comma, added but, and changed the upper case letter at the beginning of the second sentence to a lower case letter.
- Tell students that sometimes we use and and sometimes we
use but to join two sentences. Compare the two
- Ruben went to the store and his little brother went with him.
- Hannah went to the mall, but her little brother stayed home.
- Point out that in the first sentence, the two clauses tell about similar activities or have common elements (Ruben and his brother are both going to the store).
- In the second sentence, the two clauses do not have common elements. The word but signals that the second clause will tell about something different. (Hannah goes to the mall, but her brother does not.)
- Follow similar procedures for the next two pairs of sentences.
- Present two more pairs of sentences that can be joined by
but. For example:
- Sam wanted to be a pitcher on the baseball team.
- The coach said, “I want you to be the catcher.”
- Maria joined the Book Club.
- She didn’t join the Science Club.
- Students read the first pair of sentences.
- Ask them how to write one long sentence (by joining the two sentences using the word but). Remind them about the change in punctuation.
- Write on the board:
- Sam wanted to be a pitcher on the baseball team, but the coach said, “I want you to be the catcher.”
- Sam wanted to be a pitcher on the baseball team and the coach said, “I want you to be the catcher.”
- Compare the two sentences explaining why but should be used instead of and.
- Follow the same steps with the second pair of sentences but let the students explain why the sentences are joined with but instead of and.
- Present additional sentences if the students need more practice.
- Locate pairs of sentences from stories the children have already studied which can be joined using but.
- Present the sentences/paragraphs to the students; tell them to read the pairs of sentences and then write one longer sentence using but.
- For example:
- Alex’s mother was calling him.
- Alex did not hear her.
- Mother went to the store.
- Alex stayed home.
- Alex wanted to stay in the house and read a book.
- His dog wanted to go outside.
- When the students are finished, have them compare and discuss the sentences they wrote. Present several short paragraphs. Have the students select two sentences in the paragraph that can be joined using but.
- Dad showed Thomas how to weed the garden. He said, “Please pull out all the weeds. Do not pull out the flowers. We want the flowers to grow and bloom.”
- Mom said, “You were very good today. I have a surprise for you. I usually bake chocolate chip cookies. Today, I have made peanut butter cookies.”
- Students read the first paragraph. Ask them which
two sentences can be joined using but.
- Help them determine the correct sentences (Please pull out all the weeds. Do not pull out the flowers.)
- Students combine the two sentences using but (Please pull out all the weeds, but do not pull out the flowers.)
- Students work with partners to complete the next three paragraphs.
- When they are finished, have the students share their work and explain how they identified the two sentences to join using but.
Review sentences conjoined by and and but.
- Have students determine when the conjunction and should be used to conjoin sentences and when but should be used.
- Students work with a partner. Give each set of
partners several sets of sentences in which one pair should
be joined using and and the other pair using but. All
of the partners should receive the same sets of sentences.
- Tom rode the bus to school.
- His sister rode the bus, too.
- Tom rode the bus to school.
- His sister rode her bicycle.
- Each set of partners cooperatively composes one longer sentence by joining the two shorter sentences using and or but.
- When they are finished, students compare and discuss their work.
- Tell the students that when they write, they will want to
remember to use sentences that are joined with the word but
whenever it is appropriate.
- Show them an example of a short story that you have written and have them note the sentences conjoined using but.
- Discuss how these sentences add interest to your story.
- Have them write a short story and see if they can use at least two or three sentences that use the conjunction but.
- In their other writing activities, look for and encourage the use of this structure.
- During direct instruction in reading and in all content areas, point out this language structure when they encounter it in their books. Students should be able to identify the new structure and explain the meaning of the sentence.