In terms of structure, sentences can be classified in four ways:
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The sentences in this exercise have been adapted from poems in two books by Shel Silverstein: Where the Sidewalk Ends (HarperCollins, 1974) and Falling Up (HarperCollins, 1996). Identify each of the following sentences as simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex. When you're done, compare your answers with those on page two.
- I made an airplane out of stone.
- I put a piece of cantaloupe underneath the microscope.
- Oaties stay oaty, and Wheat Chex stay floaty, and nothing can take the puff out of Puffed Rice.
- While fishing in the blue lagoon, I caught a lovely silver fish.
("The Silver Fish")
- They say if you step on a crack, you will break your mother's back.
- They just had a contest for scariest mask, and I was the wild and daring one who won the contest for scariest mask--and (sob) I'm not even wearing one.
- My voice was raspy, rough, and cracked.
- I opened my eyes and looked up at the rain, and it dripped in my head and flowed into my brain.
- They say that once in Zanzibar a boy stuck out his tongue so far that it reached the heavens and touched a star, which burned him rather badly.
("The Tongue Sticker-Outer")
- I'm going to Camp Wonderful beside Lake Paradise across from Blissful Mountain in the Valley of the Nice.
- I joke with the bats and have intimate chats with the cooties who crawl through my hair.
("The Dirtiest Man in the World")
- The animals snarled and screeched and growled and whinnied and whimpered and hooted and howled and gobbled up the whole ice cream stand.
("Ice Cream Stop")
- The antlers of a standing moose, as everybody knows, are just the perfect place to hang your wet and drippy clothes.
("A Use for a Moose")
- We'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow, and we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go.
("Where the Sidewalk Ends")
- If I had a brontosaurus, I would name him Horace or Morris.
("If I Had a Brontosaurus")
- I am writing these poems from inside a lion, and it's rather dark in here.
("It's Dark in Here")
- A piece of sky broke off and fell through the crack in the ceiling right into my soup.
- The grungy, grumpy, grouchy Giant grew tired of his frowny pout and hired me and Lee to lift the corners of his crumblin' mouth.
("The Smile Makers")
- If you were only one inch tall, you'd ride a worm to school.
("One Inch Tall")
- The traffic light simply would not turn green, so the people stopped to wait as the traffic rolled and the wind blew cold, and the hour grew dark and late.