You are on page 1of 6

How to Diagram Sentences: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

1 of 6

http://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Diagram-Sentences&printab...

How to Diagram Sentences


Two Parts:

Parts of Speech

Diagramming Sentences

Questions and Answers

Diagramming sentences might seem complicated at first, but you'll quickly get
the hang of it. Sentence diagramming enables you to visually understand the
function of every part of a sentence, which helps you construct better
sentences. Once you understand the essentials, diagramming a sentence can
be like completing a Sudoku or a crossword puzzle.

Part

Parts of Speech
Review the parts of speech. Understanding what nouns, pronouns, verbs,
adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, etc. are is essential to sentence diagramming.
Nouns are words representing people, places, things, or ideas.
Dog, computer, Haiti, teacher, and dream
Pronouns are words like he, she, they, it, or who, which represent nouns.
Verbs are action words.
To run, to swim, and to fly
Adjectives are description words that apply to nouns.
Blue in blue water, big in big baby, and smelly in smelly garbage
Adverbs, like adjectives, are description words; however, adverbs apply to verbs,
adjectives, and other adverbs.
Quickly in quickly run, quite in quite slowly, and very in very beautiful
Conjunctions join clauses or words within the same clause.
And, but, and or
Joining independent clauses: "Jalissa took the car keys, and she
drove to work."
Joining words in the same clause: "Arturo likes apples and
oranges equally."

Prepositions tell you how nouns in a sentence relate to one another. There are
many prepositions.
Above, on, in, between, through, and to
Articles modify nouns differently than adjectives. They help make nouns more
specific.
a, an, and the

Parse your sentence to find the different parts of speech. It is much easier to
diagram a sentence if you already have an idea of the grammatical contents of that

sentence. You can write out and label the different words in the sentence, or you can simply
note mentally which words serve what purpose. Some words are difficult to parse, so save
those for last.
Determine your subject and verb. These are the foundations of a sentence, and
thus the foundations of a sentence diagram. The subject is a noun or pronoun that
is performing the verb. The verb is the action of the sentence. The subjects of the
following sentences are bold, and the main verbs are italic.

15-02-2016 14:35

How to Diagram Sentences: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

2 of 6

http://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Diagram-Sentences&printab...

Children will listen.


Though John doesn't like broccoli, he will eat other vegetables.
Vegetables disgust Felipe.
Felipe was disgusted by vegetables.
Ira gave Cho her necklace.
Find the direct object if there is one. Direct objects are nouns or pronouns that
are the recipients of the verb. From the above examples, Children will listen does
not have a direct object; but, Vegetables disgust Felipe does. Felipe is the direct
object of the verb disgust.

Part

Diagramming Sentences
Draw a horizontal line with a small vertical line through the middle. To the left of
the vertical line, write your subject. To the right of the vertical line, write your verb.

This is the most basic complete sentence.

Draw another vertical line stopping at the horizontal line if there is a direct
object. To the right of this line, write the direct object.
In the above sentence, Vegetables disgust Felipe, vegetables is the subject,
disgust is the verb, and Felipe is the direct object.

Place indirect objects beneath the verb. In general, indirect objects could take a
preposition and so are drawn with a diagonal line coming off of the word they modify.

See step 6 for prepositions.


In the above sentence, The farmers gave their kids fresh vegetables, farmers is
the subject, gave is the verb, vegetables is the direct object, kids is the indirect
object, the is an article, their is a possessive pronoun, and fresh is an adjective
modifying vegetables.

Draw a slash if there is a predicate nominative or predicate adjective. A


predicate nominative is a noun, pronoun, or adjective that refers to the subject. The

verb preceding the predicate nominative or adjective is usually a linking verb, such as the
forms of to be (is, are, was, etc.) or sense words (looks, smells, tastes, etc.). To the right of
the slash, write the predicate nominative or adjective.
In the above sentence, Vegetables are disgusting, vegetables is the subject, are
is a linking verb, and disgusting is the predicate adjective.
Note that pronouns following linking verbs should be in the nominative case: This
is she or It is I and not This is her or It is me.

Place adjectives, adverbs, articles, and possessives on diagonal lines below


the words they modify.
In the above sentence, The green vegetables are always disgusting, vegetables is
the subject, are is the linking verb, disgusting is the predicate adjective, green is
an adjective modifying vegetables, the is an article, and always is an adverb
modifying disgusting.

15-02-2016 14:35

How to Diagram Sentences: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

3 of 6

http://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Diagram-Sentences&printab...

Begin prepositions like you would adjectives: Draw a diagonal line down. The
object of the preposition goes on a horizontal line coming off the preposition line.
In the above sentence, The kids threw the vegetables in the trash, kids is the
subject, threw is the verb, vegetables is the direct object, in is a preposition,
trash is the object of the preposition, and all three thes are articles.

Determine how any conjunctions are being used.


If the sentence is a compound sentence made up of two independent clauses, the
coordinating conjunction will connect via a bent, broken line.
In the above sentence, The green vegetables are always disgusting, and I
hate them, there are two independent clauses. Vegetables is the subject
of the first clause, are is a linking verb, disgusting is the predicate
adjective, the is an article, green is an adjective, and always is an
adverb. I is the subject of the second clause, hate is the verb, and them is
the direct object (it is a pronoun whose antecedent is vegetables). The two
clauses are linked by the coordinating conjunction and.
If the sentence is a simple sentence and the conjunction is joining words within it,
you will split the line and join it by a broken line, or you will join two existing lines
with a broken line.
In the first of the above sentences, I like fruits and vegetables, I is the
subject, like is the verb, fruits and vegetables are the two direct objects,
and and is the conjuction joining the direct objects.
In the second of the above sentences, Green and yellow vegetables are
disgusting, vegetables is the subject, are is the linking verb, disgusting
is the predicate adjective, always is an adverb modifying disgusting,
green and yellow are adjectives modifying vegetables, and and is the
conjunction joining the adjectives.

Draw appositives in parentheses next to the words they modify. Appositives are
words that redefine or rename other words. Adjectives and articles that apply to the

appositive are drawn beneath the appositive word.


In the above sentence, An unabashed herbivore, I like fruits and vegetables, I is
the subject, like is the verb, fruits and vegetables are direct objects, and joins the
direct objects, herbivore is in apposition to I, an is an article, and unabashed is
an adjective modifying herbivore.

Place infinitive phrases on their own line, called a pedestal, beginning with a
diagonal. Infinitives are the basic forms of verbs, often beginning with the word to, as

in to see or to walk or to eat.


In the above sentence, I like to eat vegetables, I is the subject, like is the verb, to
eat vegetables is an infinitive phrase made up of the verb to eat and the object
vegetables.

10

Draw a staircase for gerunds. Gerunds are verbs ending in -ing that act as
nouns, but often take direct objects. They are usually draw on a pedestal.
In the above sentence, Eating vegetables is good for you, eating vegetables is a
gerund phrase made up of the gerund eating and the object vegetables, is is a
linking verb, good is the predicate adjective, for is a preposition, and you is the
object of the preposition.
Gerunds can also function as objects of prepositions. When functioning as the

15-02-2016 14:35

How to Diagram Sentences: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

4 of 6

http://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Diagram-Sentences&printab...

object of a preposition, gerunds do not need a pedestal.


In the above sentence, You can achieve a healthier lifestyle by eating
vegetables, You is the subject, can achieve is a verb phrase, lifestyle is
the direct object, by is a preposition, eating vegetables is a gerund
phrase made up of the gerund eating and the object vegetables, healthier
is an adjective modifying lifestyle, and a is an article. See Tips below for
more information on verb phrases.

11

Draw noun phrases on pedestals. That, and other expletives like which, can
introduce a noun phrase.
In the above sentence, I wish that she ate more vegetables, I is the subject; wish
is the verb; that she ate more vegetables is a noun clause introduced by the
expletive that and made up of the subject she, the verb ate, the direct object
vegetables, and the adjective more.
Noun phrases do not always need an expletive. Sometimes it is simply understood,
as in the sentence I wish she ate more vegetables. When the expletive is
understood, draw an X in parentheses where the word would go.

Questions and Answers

Don't see your question? Ask it here:


Submit

15-02-2016 14:35

How to Diagram Sentences: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

5 of 6

http://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Diagram-Sentences&printab...

Tips
Words of direct address are written on their own lines above the subject. For
example, in the sentence Chaequan, what would you like for dinner tonight?,
Chaequan is a word of direct address, placed above the subject you. Would
like is the verb, tonight is an adverb, dinner is the object of the preposition for,
and what is the direct object.
Beginning sentence diagramming can be confusing. Start with short, easy
sentences, and build up from there. One of the best ways to learn to diagram
sentences is to look at sentences that have already been diagrammed. There
are many great resources on the web with hundreds of sentence diagrams,
many of which have thorough explanations.
Split contractions when necessary. If the word is they're, which stands for they
are, the noun is they and the verb is are. If they is the subject, put it to the left
of the vertical line, and place 're to the right of the vertical line.
Verb phrases are main verbs, like lift, cook, or drive, that have been paired
with auxiliary, or helping, verbs, like will, can, or may, which create a sense of
time and mood in English sentences. In the following examples, the main
verbs are bold and the auxiliary verbs are italic. The two combined make the
verb phrase. Note that adverbs are not part of the verb phrase even if they
occur between the auxiliary and main verbs.
She will lift the box.
They can cook dinner for us tomorrow.
You may not have dessert. (Not is not part of the verb phrase)
Sam would have liked this movie. (Depending on the intent, auxiliary verbs
can be strung together.)

Sources and Citations


http://www.english-grammar-revolution.com - Shared with permission.
http://www.german-latin-english.com
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/ - Used with permission of Capital
Community College.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentence_diagram

Article Info

Categories: Featured Articles | English Grammar | Teacher Resources |


Homeschooling | Writing
In other languages:

Featured
Article

Espaol: diagramar enunciados, Franais: schmatiser une phrase, Portugus: Diagramar


Oraes, : , Deutsch: Stze grafisch
darstellen, Italiano: Rappresentare delle Frasi in Diagrammi, Nederlands: Zinnen ontleden met
een diagram, Bahasa Indonesia: Membuat Diagram Kalimat

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 334,548 times.

15-02-2016 14:35

How to Diagram Sentences: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

6 of 6

http://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Diagram-Sentences&printab...

15-02-2016 14:35