Principal Elements of the Sentence Practice Exercises for English Grammar

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Aug 12, 2011

The study guide for these practice exercises can be found at:

Principal Elements of the Sentence for English Grammar


  1. This exercise tests your ability to identify subjects, verbs, direct objects, and complements. You may want to review the material presented earlier before beginning work on this exercise. (The sentences include certain elements not yet discussed. They will be discussed shortly.)
  2. In the following sentences, identify the principal sentence elements as shown in these examples:

      Many cats have fleas.
        Direct object
      Bill and Tom appeared happy
        Direct object
    1. Playwrights and authors receive acclaim.
    2. Libraries preserve the wisdom of civilization.
    3. Stores are busiest at Christmastime.
    4. Buenos Aires has the largest opera house in the world.
    5. Religion is a popular course in many colleges.
    6. Eli and Samuel were Old Testament prophets.
    7. Wars have produced death and destruction.
    8. Tamara telephoned her brothers.
    9. The waiter served mineral water to his customers.
    10. The dormitory was ransacked.
    11. Burglars were ransacking the dormitory.
    12. Helen studied Italian in Switzerland.
    13. She felt the lining of her coat.
    14. He felt well again.
    15. The defendants called their lawyer.
    16. An orderly mind ensures success in business.
    17. Microchips have revolutionized the communications industry.
    18. A bibliography is a list of books and articles.
    19. Even teenagers carry cellular telephones today.
    20. Few professionals in England now wear bowler hats.
    21. The shirt and tie suited him well.
    22. Outstanding matadors are highly respected in Spain.
    23. Many homes now are air conditioned.
    24. Air conditioning cleans and cools buildings.
    25. Although Polish, Conrad wrote in English.
  1. In the following sentences, underline the indirect objects as shown in these examples:
  2.       The bride threw her bouquet to the bridesmaids.

          Tony Blair delivered a major address to the House of Commons and House of Lords.

          We paid her many compliments.

    1. Central American countries provide excellent facilities for vacationers.
    2. The auction house sent the carpet to the museum.
    3. Attorneys ask their clients searching questions.
    4. The storekeeper sent his best customer a Christmas gift.
    5. Rebecca wrote a poem for him.
    6. He gave the museum a rare vase.
    7. The dog handler showed the English setter to the judges.
    8. She left her stamp collection to Marie.
    9. She showed her roommates her paper.
    10. He gave his Chinese vase to the British Museum.
    11. We supplied him food and drink.
    12. Librarians provide services for readers.
    13. District attorneys may ask embarrassing questions of witnesses.
    14. Cargo ships usually give reliable service to most clients.
    15. Children may tell their parents outrageous stories.
  1. In the following sentences, underline the single-word modifiers as shown in these examples:
  2.       Three large stores were opened simultaneously.

          The open book lay on the professor's desk.

    1. An outdoor market attracts enthusiastic visitors.
    2. The patient child greeted her joyfully.
    3. The tired wife came home very late.
    4. A tasty spaghetti dinner is always welcome.
    5. A regularly serviced car makes driving safer.
    6. Susan opened the large package carefully.
    7. The neighborhood store opened early and closed late.
    8. Grandmother always folded clean sheets neatly.
    9. I never believe news stories.
    10. Our best skater almost fell.
    11. The trustees will meet tonight.
    12. Our weekly newspaper prints only local news.
    13. Nighttime television shows old movies.
    14. Peter never repaired the broken pipe.
    15. White wine improves roast chicken.
    16. Herman's band was playing good dance music.
    17. Bertha's diary has a blue binding.
    18. I never saw him before.
    19. The tall policeman gently comforted the frightened child.
    20. Please bring two sharp pencils.
    21. The red paint dries slowly.
    22. The stormy weather raised high waves.
    23. Happy schoolchildren study hard.
    24. Robert's old car needs new tires.
    25. They sell a million bagels annually.
  1. In the following sentences, underline the multiple-word modifiers as shown in these examples:
  2.       Grace clung to the arm of the boy in the football uniform.

          The expert who identified the forgeries was rewarded by the art collector.

          I find him guilty. (none)

    1. The dress that the champion wore on the tennis court was trimmed with green piping.
    2. The man in the ski mask ran down the stairs.
    3. He went out on cold nights without a coat.
    4. The flanker of the visiting team ran around the right end.
    5. The building in which we are living has been condemned.
    6. A car that is double parked blocks traffic in the entire street.
    7. The man carrying the brown portfolio left his papers on his desk.
    8. Garbage had fallen across the sidewalk.
    9. People of all ages enjoy swimming.
    10. The cigar store on the corner sells newspapers from many cities.
    11. A line of unemployed men and women waited at the office door.
    12. The girl in the red dress walked down the street.
    13. The light of morning shone through the window.
    14. The rain we had yesterday left large puddles on streets all over the city.
    15. The window box we planted is full of red flowers.
    16. A pair of blackbirds nests under that bridge.
    17. Students from our school always visit the museum.
    18. The girl with brown eyes pointed across the room with her left hand.
    19. The driver of our bus is pleasant to all his passengers.
    20. Ida will have dinner at our house on Saturday.
    21. A salesman who speaks only English cannot communicate with many customers.
    22. The batter who hit to left field reached second base before the ball was thrown in.
    23. A dog that is well trained obeys a well-trained master.
    24. The priest in our parish helps everyone who comes to him.
    25. A skier who knows what she is doing moves with great caution.
  1. In the following sentences, identify verbs, subjects, direct objects, complements, indirect objects, and modifiers as shown in these examples:
  2. The basement of the house across the street was flooded during the storm.

    The quarterback passed the ball to the tight end.

    The general was an able man.

    1. Lisa hastily wrote an angry letter to her mother.
    2. Beethoven is the greatest composer of all time.
    3. While I was waiting for Jon, I met another old friend.
    4. Michelle is the worst student in the junior class.
    5. The Democratic candidate gave an important speech on the radio.
    6. Nola gave Marla a very expensive present.
    7. The young woman rose from her chair near the window.
    8. Literary critics often are frustrated authors.
    9. A competent ornithologist identified many rare birds.
    10. Emma Dally has written three interesting novels on modern English life.
    11. Working far into the night gives Gary bad headaches.
    12. Most Third World nations experience economic difficulties.
    13. Old automobiles are a burden to their users.
    14. Life has never been better for this generation.
    15. I always study at night.
    16. The new puppies are the envy of the neighbors.
    17. H. L. Mencken was an irreverent critic.
    18. Kate made attractive dresses for herself and her friends.
    19. Actors receive many letters every day.
    20. Poverty damages the lives of many rural children.
    21. We still go to the theater as often as possible.
    22. Commodity prices are high everywhere.
    23. When Dick cuts himself, he bleeds for a long time.
    24. Paper airplanes rarely fly for more than a few minutes.
    25. Fishing is great fun once you have learned the fundamental skills.
  1. In the following sentences, underline the independent clauses as shown in these examples:
  2.       We stayed on the dock long after the ship had gone.

          Even though I was sick, I attended class regularly.

    1. Some of us liked the program that night, and many people were enthusiastic about it.
    2. Many voters misinterpreted the remarks of the candidate, so she tried to restate her position.
    3. While we walked home, we considered the problem carefully.
    4. Willie lived a long and happy life, but his time had come to die.
    5. During the years they spent raising their children, they had many happy experiences.
    6. Cigarettes have long been known to be dangerous to health, yet many people continue to smoke.
    7. He wanted to join her in the new business, but he had little capital to invest.
    8. Although there was enough food to go around, its quality was poor.
    9. His first remarks were greeted with derision, but the audience soon began to applaud.
    10. Well researched papers usually get higher marks than hastily prepared papers.
  1. In the following sentences, underline the dependent clauses as shown in these examples:
  2.       Most of the seniors will be graduated before they reach eighteen.

          At every opportunity he derides his associates. (none)

    1. Most of them have been driving carelessly even though they passed Driver Education.
    2. Aspens and poplars grow rapidly but are not useful in building.
    3. They left California after their children finished college.
    4. Sally never eats meat, even though the rest of her family does.
    5. We decided that she was not a friend of ours and he was.
    6. My wife can barely manage to get to her job at school, where she teaches remedial reading.
    7. The mayor told her constituents she would surely meet the town's financial needs.
    8. Supersonic transport airplanes have little to recommend them, since they save the traveler little time and contribute heavily to air pollution.
    9. I have reserved two excellent and high-priced seats for tonight's performance.
    10. The movie held all of us spellbound except for Rory, who yawned steadily and audibly from the time the movie began.
  1. In the following sentences, underline the phrases as shown in these examples:
  2.       The children were taken to the store.

          Winning the peace is more important now than winning the war.

          She decided to spear an octopus for dinner.

    1. We swam across the winding river.
    2. After her divorce, all mention of her name ceased.
    3. They saw themselves pinned to the wall.
    4. The glider soared skyward, soon to be released by the towing airplane.
    5. They baited the trap in hope of snaring something for dinner.
    6. A simple country doctor was all she ever wanted to be.
    7. Books were his best friends; time his greatest enemy.
    8. A cup of tea in late afternoon enabled them to survive until evening.
    9. In the library the boy found peace and quiet.
    10. The captain ordered us to pick up our gear and retreat to the nearest town as quickly as possible.
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