Diagramming sentences is useful to develop a deeper understanding of grammar and parts of speech. When writing complex sentences, many rules apply in the English language. For example, adjectives and adverbs must accompany the words they are modifying, and subjects and verbs must agree. Diagramming sentences can help you understand how to break down a sentence into parts, so you can ensure you follow all conventional grammar rules.
Tips For Diagramming Sentences
When diagramming sentences, the easiest way to start is to identify the parts of speech and the parts of the sentence.
- Identify your subject (What is the sentence about?)
- Identify your verb (What is the subject of the sentence doing?)
- List any adjectives or adverbs (Words or phrases that modify a subject, object or verb)
- List any prepositional or modifying phrases (Phrases that modify, or provide additional information, about something in the sentence)
- Determine whether you have one independent clause or whether there is a dependent clause (Dependent clauses are clauses that can't stand alone)
- List interjections, articles, modifiers and other parts of speech
Once you have identified the different parts of the sentence and thought about how they fit together, it is easy to begin your diagram.
- Your subject and verb go on your base line, with a straight line between them
- Adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases and modifying phrases go below your base line, on slanted lines below the thing they are modifying
- Dependent clauses have their own base line, and the sentenes are connected with dotted lines and the conjunction.
Diagramming sentences can be difficult at first, especially with complex sentences. However, it can help provide you with a deep understanding of grammar rules and parts of speech. The best way to get better at diagramming sentences is to practice.
Diagramming Sentences Practice
The following worksheets and websites provide extensive practice diagramming sentences:
- Guide to Diagramming With Example Sentences - This website provides a brief introduction to sentence diagramming, along with a downloadable guide to diagramming sentences. You can also download diagrammed sentences, worksheets, and a copy of the Pledge of Allegiance and Preamble to the Constitution that has been diagramed.
- Diagramming Exercises - English Grammar Revolution offers ten individual chapters of sentences to diagram, which begin with simple sentences and basic sentence diagramming. The sentences and exercises gradually get more complex, chapter by chapter. Each chapter contains detailed examples of sentences to diagram, along with sample diagrams. The chapters are printable or can be viewed online. The information is appropriate for all skil levels, since it gradually introduces the process of sentence diagramming.
- Simple Sentences to Diagram: Tutor.com provides a very brief, simple and easy to understand explanation of diagramming sentences. This guide is geared towards primary or elementary school students who are being introduced to diagramming sentences for the first time. There are ten sample sentences to diagram at the end of the guide, along with answers to the sample sentences. These sentences and diagrams are not complex, but are perfect for an initial introduction to diagramming. The sentences and guide can be printed or viewed online.