The KISS Grammar Printable Workbooks The KISS Grammar Anthology

Illustration by
Walter Paget
An Exercise in Punctuation
The Master of Ballantrae
Robert Louis Stevenson
1. Put parentheses ( ) around each prepositional phrase. 
2. Underline subjects once, finite verbs twice, and label complements (“PN,” “PA,” “IO,” “DO”). 
3. Place brackets around each subordinate clause. If the clause functions as a noun, label its function (PN, IO, DO, OP) above the opening bracket. If it functions as an adjective or adverb, draw an arrow from the opening bracket to the word that the clause modifies.
4. Put a vertical line at the end of every main clause.
5. Put a box around every gerund and gerundive. If it is a gerund indicate its function over the box. If it is a gerundive, draw an arrow to the word it modifies. 
6. Put an oval around every infinitive and indicate (as in three above) its function.
7. Put a wavy line under each noun absolute and label its function.

Each side had thus a spy hole on the counsels of the other. The plotters, 

so soon as this advantage was explained, returned to camp; Harris, hearing

the Hindustani was once more closeted with his master, crept to the side 

of the tent; and the rest, sitting about the fire with their tobacco, awaited 

his report with impatience.  When he came at last, his face was very black. 

He had overheard enough to confirm the worst of his suspicions.  Secundra 

Dass was a good English scholar; he had been some days creeping and 

listening, the Master was now fully informed of the conspiracy, and the pair 

proposed on the morrow to fall out of line at a carrying place and plunge at 

a venture in the woods: preferring the full risk of famine, savage beasts, 

and savage men to their position in the midst of traitors.