It’s true, I love diagramming sentences, and I teach students how to diagram sentences–which is probably enough to get me kicked out of most professional English teacher organizations–if I belonged to any (which I don’t).
But for you rebels out there who subservisely sneak diagramming into your curriculum between studying for state and national tests, here are some resources from the Diagramming Sentences page at the Guide to Grammar and Writing sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation:
- First, this quote by Gertrude Stein: “I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences.”
- Second, this PowerPoint presentation on the basics of diagramming.
- Third, two pages of examples of basic and advanced diagrams:
- Fourth, the totally cool diagrams of both the Pledge of Allegiance and the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. (Thanks to Boing Boing)
And finally, this tribute to diagramming from Investor’s Business Daily, October 17, 2000:
When Joseph R. Mallon Jr. bumps up against a complex problem, he thinks back to a lesson he learned in high school from the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.
The Philadelphia-area school’s Catholic nuns taught him the art of diagramming a sentence. Once all the parts of speech lined up, Mallon pulled clarity from the chaos. It’s a process he uses today to tackle tough issues as chief executive and chairman of Measurement Specialties Inc.
“Sit down quietly. Take (the issue) apart into its component parts. Make sure all the components fit together well. They’ve got to be well chosen, fit together and make sense. There are few (business) problems that can’t be solved that way, as dire as it might seem,” Mallon said. “Sentence diagramming is one of the best analytical techniques I ever learned.”