The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks The KISS Workbooks Anthology
(Code and Color Key)

An Exercise in Punctuation
Two Sentences from "The Sleeping Beauty"
from My Book of Favorite Fairy Tales
Analysis Key

     Remember that teachers can opt for the "correct" the mistakes version of this exercise (which is included in the students' version of the printable books) or can replace that with the "original" (analyze and explain the mistakes) version. In either case, the main rewards from this exercise will come from the students' discussion of how the passage is punctuated. In addition to the compound main clauses, note the number of compound finite verbs in these sentences. Compounding is an important aspect of style.

1. And the horses got up and shook themselves (DO), | and the dogs 

jumped about and barked; | the pigeons took their heads (DO) {from 

under their wings}, and looked around and flew {into the fields}; | the flies {on 

the walls} buzzed; | the fire {in the kitchen} blazed up and cooked the dinner

(DO), | and the roast meat turned round again; | the cook gave the boy (IO)

the box (DO) {on his ear} [Adv. (result) to "gave" so that he cried out], | and 

the maid went to milk the cows [#1]. |

The semicolon after "barked" separates the two main clauses about domestic animals from the following main clause about the pigeons. The one after "fields" separates the pigeons (who are outside) from the flies (who are probably inside). The next two main clauses are joined by a comma plus "and," perhaps because they are both about the kitchen and food. The semicolon after "again" separates the two clauses about food from the following two main clauses that are about the people in the kitchen.
2. Even [#2] the fire {on the hearth} left off blazing (DO) [#3], and went {to 

sleep}; | and the meat [Adj. to "meat" that was roasting] stood still (PA) [#4];

| and the cook, [Adj. to "cook" who was {at that moment} pulling the

kitchen-boy (DO) {by the hair} to give him a box [#5] {on the ear} {for 

something} [Adj. to "something" he had done amiss]], let him go [#6], | and

both fell asleep; | and so everything stood still (PA), and slept soundly. |

The semicolon after "sleep" could have been a comma (as it is in the first sentence), but the writer opted for the stronger break of the semicolon. Perhaps that was because this passage is about everyone falling asleep (as compared to their waking up in the first sentence). The semi-colons slow things down, as they slow down in falling asleep. The semicolon after "still" is comparable to that in the first sentence, separating the food from the people in the kitchen. The comma plus "and" separates two main clauses that are both about the same people (the cook and the boy). The final semicolon separates all the main clauses that are about specific examples from the final one, which is a generalization about "everything." 

1. "Cows" is the direct object of the verbal (infinitive) "to milk." The infinitive phrase functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "went."
2. Grammarians would probably disagree about the function of this "Even." I've considered it an adjective to "fire" because of its position in the sentence, but some grammarians might well consider it an adverb to "left off."
3. "Left off" means "stopped." I've marked "blazing" (a gerund) as the direct object, but remember that most grammar textbooks are not clear about whether or not verbs such as "started," "continued," or "stopped" are helping verbs. Thus I would also accept "left off blazing" as the finite verb phrase.
4. I've marked this as a palimpsest pattern with "stood" written over "was," thereby making "still" a predicate adjective. But alternatively "still" could be described as an adverb.
5. "Him" is the indirect, and "box" is the direct object of the verbal (infinitive) "to give." The infinitive phrase functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "was pulling."
6. "Him" is the subject of the verbal (infinitive) "go." The infinitive phrase functions as the direct object of "let."