Answer Key: A Guide to Old English Practice Sentences (Mitchell/Robinson)

Since I’ve had users searching for this, here are my translations for the practice sentences in the 7th edition of Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson’s A Guide to Old English. This is not an answer key provided by the textbook writers, so I can’t give any guarantees about my answers. Let’s compare notes and see if we got the same thing! (I’ve never heard of a class assigning Mitchell and Robinson, but if you’re using this page to cheat on your homework, shame on you.)


  • Harold is swift. His hand is strong and his word fierce. Late in life he went to his wife (woman) in Rome.
  • Is his inn open? His grain-bin is full and his song is written. Grind his grain for him and sing me his song.
  • He is dead. His bed is under him. His lamb is deaf and blind. He sang for me.
  • He swam west in storm and wind and frost.
  • Bring us gold. Stand up and find wise men.


  • Is his retainer (thane) here yet/still?
  • His linen sock fell overboard in the water and shrank.
  • Where is his kinfolk and family?
  • His ring is gold, his dish glass, and his belt leather.
  • The fish swam under the ship and over the shellfish.
  • His chicken ran from his trail (horse path), over his path, and in his yard.
  • The horn sang loudly; we should listen!
  • The youth (knight) is on that bridge.
  • The queen went from that church.
  • She sits on that bench.
  • God is good.
  • This tree is ash, and that tree is ash.
  • He wanted to perform witchcraft, and he began to do so.
  • Did you fight nobly or wickedly?
  • His smithy is life to that that smith.


  • I broke that stone.
  • The stone is large.
  • The stone’s largeness is remarkable.
  • The stone-mason gave form to the stone.
  • He slew the man with the stone.
  • The sun is very great.
  • Where it shines, there it is day.
  • Night is the earth’s shadow between the sun and mankind.
  • This life is transitory, and this world declines and falls.
  • Sing this song!
  • They shoved out their ship and sailed to the sea.
  • On this day we killed the enemy of this people.
  • His wife’s name was Elizabeth.
  • This gift is for us, and it pleases us.
  • Death is this life’s end, and the soul is immortal.
  • They didn’t dare to ask him that thing.
  • What do you think about Christ? Whose son is he?
  • Whose son are you? And whose daughter are you?
  • Why has God made evil snakes?


Answer Key: A Guide to Old English Practice Sentences (Mitchell/Robinson) — 2 Comments

  1. Hi! I just stumbled upon your site looking for this exact thing: an answer key for these sentences. It’s sad no one else has wanted to compare notes thus far, but I found your answers helpful in checking mine (after I worked them out myself, or course). Most of my answers were fairly spot on with yours; there’s only a couple things I would like to point out for the exercises in part C (since the sentences aren’t numbered in the book, you’ll just have to count down):

    In sentence 11, scipu is a neuter noun, so according to the paradigm in section 34 of the text, it has to be nominative/accusative plural (in this case, it’s accusative). You translated it as singular “ship” when it should be plural “ships”.

    You didn’t post a translation for the 13th sentence at all. The translation I came up with was “I remember the names of that people and of this people.”

    In the 17th sentence, OE “thing” (sorry don’t have the fonts for the ‘thorn’ character) follows the paradigm in section 34 of the text for “word”: it’s a long-stemmed neuter word; thus, it is OE “thing” in the nominative/accusative singular and the nominative/accusative plural. However, the pronoun before it, “tha”, can only be singular in the feminine accusative. Since OE “thing” is a neuter noun, that won’t work. Thus this pronoun indicates that it must be nominative/accusative plural (and in this case it accusative). So the translation should be “they did not dare him to ask those things”.

    Lastly, on sentence 18, I don’t have any qualms with your translation at all (I actually ended up translating it the same way), but the grammatical structure of the OE is very rough. Best I can tell, a rigidly literal translation of the first part should be “what seems about Christ to you?”. OE “thyncth” takes a dative object (OE eow–to you) but MnE doesn’t really allow the verb “seem” as much flexibility to translate this sentence very literally. Knowing the Biblical context behind this sentence, I would agree with your translation; it’s just very difficult to maintain the OE grammatical structure when bringing it over into MnE.

    Anyway, there’s my note-comparison. Hope it might help some.

  2. My professor used an ancient edition of Mitchell and Robinson the last time I learnt Old English! I promise that I checked these answers *after* I wrote out my own translations! :) We now have a newer textbook, but we still had to read Mitchell and Robinson’s Introduction and do a set of the practice sentences.

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