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(Code and Color Key)

A Punctuation Exercise
Based on “The White Rabbit” by Mary Frances Blaisdell

The original text is:

     And then he heard Jack talking to the dog.
     Poor Bunny’s heart began to beat very fast.
     “What shall I do? What shall I do?” he said.
     “Jack and Jip will not hurt you,” said Whitie. “I think Jack is coming to close the gate.”
     Bunny hid himself in one corner of the house and held his breath for fear Jack would see him.

Complete Analysis Key

     And then he heard Jack (DO) talking [#1] {to the dog}. |

     Poor Bunny’s heart began to beat [#2] very fast. |

     “What (DO) shall I do? | What (DO) shall I do?” [ [#3] he said]. |

     “Jack and Jip will not hurt you (DO),” [ [#3] said Whitie]. |I think

[DO Jack is coming to close the gate [#4].]|

     Bunny hid himself (DO) {in one corner} {of the house} and held his breath 

(DO) {for fear} [Adj. to "fear" Jack would see him (DO)]. |


Notes
1. At KISS Level Four, students will learn that "talking" is a gerundive that modifies "Jack." At Level Five, some students will prefer to see "Jack talking" as the core of a noun absolute that functions as the direct object of "heard."
2. At this level, "began to beat" can be considered the verb phrase. At KISS Level Four, many students will prefer to see "began" as the finite verb and "to beat" as an infinitive (a verbal) that functions as the direct object of "began."
3. This sentence and the next illustrate why KISS offers a non-traditional explanation of clauses involving quotations. Traditional grammars rarely, if ever, discuss the question of several main clauses inside a quotation. When the "said" appears before the quotation, KISS considers the first main clause in the quotation to be a subordinate clause that functions as direct object. Subsequent clauses are then considered to be separate main clauses:
He said [DO "What shall I do?] | What shall I do?" |
When the quotation comes first, KISS explains the "said" clause as an interjection. For more on this see "Interjection or Direct Object?" in the Instructional Materials for KISS Level Three.
4. "Gate" is the direct object of the infinitive "to close" which functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "is coming."