Practice Time! (Phrases, Clauses, Compound, and Complex Sentences)

This post is a set of review exercises to help cement those new English grammar points you’ve learned! We’ll start with some simple identification, then guide you in constructing some compound sentences, and finally provide sentences that have the whole mix so you can flex your grammar muscles by distinguishing between all these concepts in a natural setting. Use this post to prove your growing grammar prowess to yourself — or to iron out any wrinkles still left!

Answers for all exercises will be at the end of the page.

Identification Exercises

Decide whether each of the following lines is a phrase, independent clause, or dependent clause. Choose phrase only if the line cannot be a clause.

1. because it was easy
2. a pearly red balloon
3. after I submitted my essay
4. the movie was interesting
5. jumped across the wide path
6. I like kiwis
7. although writing is complicated
8. there is so much to say
9. if I want to learn everything
10. a heavy, old book

Compound Sentences

Combine the following sets into compound sentences using one of the coordinating conjunctions from the FANBOYS set.

1. I want to travel. I need to earn money.
2. I want to learn. I should practice.
3. You might like this book. You might not.
4. I wish you would call. I miss you.
5. I don’t like artichokes. I don’t like brussels sprouts.
6. I studied hard. I was uncertain about my score.
7. Make a schedule. Send me the details.
8. It was so hot outside. Summer came early.
9. Do you want to go to the park? Do you want to go to a movie?
10. I prepared for the presentation. I forgot my USB at home.

Challenge Mode!

The following are a mix of compound and complex sentences. First, identify the clauses, placing square brackets [ ] around dependent clauses and curly brackets { } around independent clauses. Circle or place in bold the conjunctions and add commas in the appropriate places. Finally, decide whether the sentence is compound or complex.

Recall that a compound sentence has two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction. Complex sentences have one or more dependent clauses attached to one independent clause with a subordinating conjunction.

But wait! What happens if a sentence has a dependent clause and two independent clauses? That would be a compound-complex sentence! Don’t worry — just take it step by step, identify the clauses first and you will be able to identify the sentence type easily.

  1. Even if every step seems difficult you should keep trying for the best things are worth fighting for.
  2. I did my very best to write a good cover letter and I finally sent my application to my favorite company for review.
  3. Whenever the rain falls I remember how important the simple things are and I feel glad to be where I am.
  4. If you really want good English editing service you should try Ediket since it’s fast and efficient.
  5. Every morning I get up early and I get ready to go out but today my alarm didn’t ring.
  6. I think summer is the best time of year because everything is growing and green so the whole world seems new.
  7. Although travel can be fun alone it’s better if you take a friend given that experiences are always better if they’re shared.
  8. As soon as you get my letter write back to me and I will think of something new to write back to you whenever I get your response.
  9. I really want to know how to get a ticket yet every time I try to call the office I get a busy signal.
  10. No matter how much you study it takes practice and application to really learn how to master English so just keep trying to use what you know as often as you can and you’ll succeed!

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The following abbreviations will be used in the solutions: Phrase (P), Dependent Clause (DC), Independent Clause (IC), Compound Sentence (CdS), Complex Sentence (CxS), Compound-Complex Sentence (CCS).

Identifying Exercises: 1.DC 2.P 3.DC 4.IC 5.P 6.IC 7.DC 8.IC 9.DC 10.P

Compound Sentences: 1.but/yet 2.so 3.or 4.for 5.nor 6.yet/but 7.and 8.for 9.or 10.but/yet

Note: “But” and “yet” are almost interchangeable. Sometimes one will sound more natural than the other, but this is purely a matter of taste. Some authors suggest “yet” indicates more surprise. The option listed first in the answers sounded better to my ear, as a native speaker.

Challenge Mode:

  1. [Even if every step seems difficult], {you should keep trying}, for {the best things are worth fighting for}. (CCS)
  2. {I did my very best to write a good cover letter}, and {I finally sent my application to my favorite company for review}. (CdS)
  3. [Whenever the rain falls], {I remember how important the simple things are}, and {I feel glad to be where I am}. (CCS)
  4. [If you really want good English editing service], {you should try Ediket} [since it’s fast and efficient]. (CxS)
  5. {Every morning I get up early}, and {I get ready to go out}, but {today my alarm didn’t ring}. (CdS)
  6. {I think summer is the best time of year} [because everything is growing and green], so {the whole world seems new}. (CCS)
  7. [Although travel can be fun alone], {it’s better if you take a friend} [given that experiences are always better if they’re shared]. (CxS)
  8. [As soon as you get my letter], {write back to me}, and {I will think of something new to write back to you} [whenever I get your response]. (CCS)
  9. {I really want to know how to get a ticket}, yet [every time I try to call the office], {I get a busy signal}. (CCS)
  10. [No matter how much you study], {it takes practice and application to really learn how to master English}, so {just keep trying to use what you know} [as often as you can], and {you’ll succeed}! (CCS)

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