The KISS Printable Books Page
(Code and Color Key)

An Exercise on Decombining Sentences
Based on "Casabianca,"
from - Golden Deeds: Stories from History Retold for Little Folk

There are, of course, many ways in which to decombine these sentences, and your students will probably be able to make more and shorter simple sentences than I have below.

1. The famous admiral, Lord Nelson [#1], was {in command} {of the British fleet}, | 

and he won a most glorious victory (DO) [Adj. to "victory" {in which} only four 

French ships escaped]. |

Lord Nelson was an admiral. He was famous. He was in command of the British fleet. He won a victory. It was most glorious. Only four French ships escaped.
2. Lord Nelson immediately gave orders (DO) [Adj. to "orders" that the British

boats should be put off (P) to save as many as possible [#2] {of the poor sailors}

{on the burning vessel}]. |

Lord Nelson immediately gave orders. The British boats should be put off. They should save as many as possible of the poor sailors on the burning vessel.
3. [Adv. to "accepted" and "sprang" When the boats reached her side (DO)]

most {of the French officers} accepted the offer (DO) {of safety} and sprang 

{into them}. |

The boats reached her side. Most of the French officers accepted the offer of safety. They sprang into the boats.
4. Standing {upon LíOrientís deck} was the little ten-year-old son {of the 

Captain}, named Casabianca [#3] , [Adj. to "son" who was the favourite (PN)

{of everyone} {on board}], | and [Adv. to "shouted" as he made no attempt (DO)

to move [#4] ], the British sailors shouted {to him} to come [#5] {with them}. |

Standing upon LíOrientís deck was the son of the Captain. He was a little ten-year-old. His name was Casabianca. He was the favourite of everyone on board. He made no attempt to move. The British sailors shouted to him to come with them.
5. A dead silence followed this fearful sound (DO), | and then the British boats 

rowed busily about, picking up those  [#6] [Adj. to "those" who had leapt {from

the burning vessel} {in time} to save their lives [#7] ]. |

A dead silence followed this fearful sound. Then the British boats rowed busily about. They were picking up those who had leapt from the burning vessel in time to save their lives.

1. "Lord Nelson" is an appositive to "admiral.'
2. "To save as many as possible" involves a lot of ellipsis. "As possible" is a reduction of a subordinate clause --  "as *it would be* possible *to save." This clause functions as an adverb to the preceding "as." That "as" functions as an adverb to "many." "Many" can be considered a pronoun, the direct object of "to save," but some people may prefer to see it as an adjective to an ellipsed "sailors" -- "to save as many *sailors* as possible." This would make "sailors" the direct object of the infinitive "to save." The entire infinitive phrase functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "should be put  off."
3. "Casabianca" is a retained predicate noun after the passive gerundive "named." The gerundive modifies "son." [Note that it would be easy to misread this gerundive as modifying "Captain," especially since the Captain is never named. It is only from the later context of the story that we can be sure that it refers to the son.]
4. The infinitive "to move" functions as an adjective to "attempt."
5. Some people will see the infinitive "to come" as the direct object of "shouted," whereas others will probably see it as an adverb (of purpose) to "shouted."
6. "Those" is the direct object of the gerundive "picking up" (rescuing). The gerundive phrase modifies "boats."
7. "Lives" is the direct object of  "to save." This infinitive phrase functions as an adjective to "time" and/or as an adverb (of purpose) to "had leapt."