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Diagramming sentences is hard


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How do you guys diagram sentences with more than one phrase? And I don't mean to say the ones that only has prepositions, I can still handle that. But it confuses me when I'm diagramming sentences that has two ore more complete phrases that are separated with commas. They still have the usual S TV DO patterns but there's 2 or more of that. Whenever I encounter that in exams I can't help but be confused about them. Are you having the same problem too? What's the usual technique that you do to diagram those kinds of sentences? I always try to look at the patterns and start the diagram from there but maybe there are some other tips that you can share me for this please. I would really appreciate any techniques. Cheers!

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  • 1 month later...

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I know this is an old post, but I have been diagramming sentences with my son. I always thought it was really hard to do and a chore, but since I am homeschooling my son and he isn't forced to do it, he is actually interested and finds it fun.

If you could give me an example of such sentence, then I could diagram it for you.

We are using this curriculum for grammar - Royal Fireworks Press by Michael Clay Thompson


There is a workbook that has the correct answers. I am really happy to learn or relearn this for myself.



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It can be difficult, but gets easier with practice.  It would be easier to help you, as the previous poster said, if you have an example of a sentence.  From what you said, it could be a comma splice (two complete sentences incorrectly joined by a comma, instead of a semicolon or made into two separate sentences with a period)  Please give an example so we can help you in detail.

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  • 3 months later...

It used to be one of my favorite exercises in my English subject way back in high school. :) It can  be tough yes, if you're going to diagram phrases or compound sentences containing separate phrases. As what the others here have commented, it is better if you provide us a sample of what phrase you have difficulty diagramming with. :)

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For some people, this is fun. For others, it is a chore.

The reason why it is fun for some people is because they see it as a puzzle because everything logically fits together or can be taken apart to form a sentence diagram. If you adopt this mentality, surely you will have a better time diagramming sentences. Do not force yourself to do it, and instead, diagram it when you're bored by acting as if it is a puzzle.

Now, onto your original question.

I am going to assume the following:

S = subject

TV = transitive verb

DO = direct object

"two or more complete phrases" = clauses

I believe that what you mean by this: "they still have the usual S TV DO patterns but there's 2 or more of that" is that you want to find out how to diagram sentences with multiple clauses.

A clause has a subject and a verb. There are two types: independent and dependent.

First, let us give examples:

[list type=decimal]

[*]I ate a taco, and the car hit me.

[*]Because I ate a taco, the car hit me. OR The car hit me because I ate a taco.

I apologize beforehand if this wasn't what you were asking!

#1 has two independent clauses. Multiple independent clauses can be identified by having a comma and conjunction or a semicolon. Otherwise, independent clauses can stand alone without attachments to other clauses without being considered a fragment. "I ate a taco" can be one sentence, and "the car hit me" can be the other.

#2 has one independent clause and one dependent clause. The dependent clause is "because I ate a taco" while the independent clause is "the car hit me." As you can see me, the former cannot be considered a sentence on its own, which is why it is "dependent" and forms a fragment by itself. The latter can stand alone and is the independent clause. Dependent clauses are marked by a "dependent marker word" such as "because."

Now, we will diagram these two sentences!

For #1, the following image shows how to diagram two independent clauses and should help with any types of these sentences in the future.


As for #2, this image is how you would connect the two clauses (one independent and one dependent). All other objects or ornaments can expand from this sentence diagram.


I know there are also different types of ways that clauses can be connected, so if this was not what you were asking, please tell us and provide an example so that we can help even more.

I hope this has helped. :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have always hated diagramming sentences. I had a middle school teacher who required us to do it ALL the time. Even though I think my grammar skills are pretty good, I somehow struggle when it comes to mapping it all out on paper. I wish you the best of luck at sharpening your skills because I'm not the best person to give you advice on this subject!!

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