The KISS Grammar Workbooks Back to April Menu
(Code and Color Key)

Exercise # 4 on Compound Main Clauses
from Sherwood Anderson's "The Egg"
Analysis Key

1.) Mother smiled {at the boarders} | and I, catching the infection [#1], smiled

{at our cat}. |

2.) He began to cry (DO) [#2] {like a boy} | and I, carried [#3] away {by his grief},

cried {with him}. |

3.) I cannot now remember his words (DO), | but he gave the impression (DO)

{of one} about [#4] to become {in some obscure way} a kind [#4] {of public 

entertainer}. |

4.) Small chickens, just setting out [#5] {on the journey} {of life}, look so bright

(PA) and alert (PA) | and they are {in fact} [#6] so dreadfully stupid (PA). |

5.) Father rode {on top} {of the wagon}. | He was then a bald-headed man (PN)

{of forty-five}, a little [NuA] fat (PA) | and [#7] {from long association} {with mother 

and the chickens} he had become habitually silent (PA) and discouraged (PA). |

Notes for KISS Levels Four and Five
1. "Infection" is the direct object of "catching," which is a gerundive that modifies "I."
2. "To cry" is an infinitive that functions as the direct object of "began."
3. "Carried" is a gerundive that modifies "I."
4. "About" here is the equivalent of "ready" -- "ready  to become ... a kind ...." It modifies "one." The infinitive "to become" functions as an adverb to "about," and "kind" is a predicate noun to "become."
5. "Setting out" equals "starting." It functions as a gerundive to "chickens."
6. Note that "in fact" can be considered an adverb, but alternatively one may view it as an interjection.
7. Note that the absence of "and" before "a little fat," combined with the lack of a comma before this "and" will result in most readers expecting a third complement for "was." ("He was a bald-headed man, a little fat, and tired.") The following string of prepositional phrases adds to the problem -- "He was a bald-headed man, a little fat, and from long association with mother and the chickens tired." When no such complement appears, the reader has to go back, unhook the string of prepositional phrases from the "was," reprocess "he" as a subject, and then connect the string of prepositional phrases to "had become." Perhaps the main point here is that well-recognized, professional writers publish sentences that are difficult to read. We can help students understand how and why such sentences are awkward, and we can try to help them write clearer sentences. But we also have to be understanding of students' problems in controlling sentence structure.