Let's try a long simple sentence.
In the middle of the night, my younger brother, my older sister, and I were suddenly wakened from a sound sleep by a strange noise out in the back yard behind our bedrooms.
First, let's find the prepositional phrases and get rid of them. The main parts of sentences are never in prepositional phrases. If you need a list of prepositions, see this site.
The prepositional phrases are in parentheses.
(In the middle)(of the night), my younger brother, my older sister, and I were suddenly wakened (from a sound sleep) (by a strange noise) (in the back yard) (behind our bedrooms).
My younger brother, my older sister, and I were suddenly wakened.
What is the verb? Who is doing the action?
If you post your answer, we'll be glad to check it.
Is this the kind of sentence you mean? Remember there are also compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences which have more than one clause.
First.... find main idea(s) What is the whole long sentence about?
Look at this sentence.
"The dog lived in the backyard, but the cat, who thought she was superior, lived inside the house."
#1 clue - there is a conjunction. So there may be two main ideas. What are they?
a. dog lived (in the backyard)
b. cat lived ( inside the house)
Therefore , you know that you have a compound sentence.
Then what does " who thinks she is superior" relate to? " The cat, of course". Does that group of words have a subject and verb?... Yes, " who thinks " Therefore you know it is a clause. Conclusion... compound, complex sentence.
Please notice..... I am asking myself questions!!!!! First I ask what is the main idea(s). After I separate them out, I ask , are the modifiers phrases or clauses? When I separate those into two groups. I ask, what do they modify?
The main thing I have taught my English classes when analyzing sentences to talk to themselves!!! Don't expect the answers to leap off the page when you look at the sentence. Logic it through.
If you like, take this sentence and work it through. Repost and we will be glad to help.
"With her fingernails, the woman tore open the package she had just received."
i understand this.but we have to do the following
in the backyard-adverbial
who thought she was superior-i think this is subject complement...and so on...we have to decide what is il a sentence a subject what is object object complement subject complement adverbial and verb.that is it..and than we get a really long sentence and we don't understand what is an adverbial what is a complement.this is my problem