Practice Time

Exercise 1. In the following paragraph, identify all the nouns, verbs, and adjectives:

“The main door of the school is on the side away from the town. The drive leading to it is long, cutting straight across between the tennis courts after it leaves the big wooden gates, then curving round the extreme edge of the gardens until, after a long, straight stretch up the slope, it ends in the courtyard by the front door. It takes about five minutes’ fast walking to get from the gates to the grateful seclusion of the court during which you become thoroughly self-conscious as you notice the eyes watching you from the windows. Once you reach the corner of the house you are safe.”

Exercise 2. In the following sentences, give the category of all the words from closed-class categories:

“All the rooms on the ground floor open off the T-shaped front hall. When you come in from the courtyard the doors of Mlle Tourain’s study are directly opposite you; on your right are the kitchens and laundry-rooms and between them and the study, occupying the whole corner, is the dining-room. On your left, behind the big dark staircase which curves up to the first floor, is the girls’ living-room, and in front of it on the south-east corner, the main classroom.”

Exercise 3. In the following sentences, identify all the modal auxiliaries, non-modal auxiliaries, and the main verb uses of have and be:

“Some day they are going to get it mended but at present they are too busy, for Mlle Tourain is correcting proofs for the second volume of her work on the history of Swiss independence, which will appear next autumn, and she, Mary Ellerton, has no time for anything, since she dismissed the housekeeper and has her job as well as that of assistant principal.”

Exercise 4. Compound words in English are variable in their spelling: some are spelled with no space between the elements of the compound (redhead, greenhouse), some are spelled with a space (ice cream, ski boots), and some are spelled with a hyphen between the elements (gluten-free, long-term). Identify all the compounds in the following sentences:

“Amélie Tourain leaned forward a little and switched on her desk light.”

“The third occasion on which she said something funny the headmistress had glanced at her over Doris Anderson’s note-book, then at Mlle Devaux, and after that things went much easier with the grammar teacher.”

“Mlle Tourain was sitting back in her chair now, and had begun to tap the rubber end of her pencil against the brass ink-pot.”

“She had spoken with an undercurrent of passion running through her words, as she was speaking now.”


All of the texts for the exercises above are taken from Swiss Sonata by Gwethalyn Graham, which is in the Public Domain in Canada.

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Practice Time by Catherine Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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