Sunday, November 16, 2008

Help with Diagramming Sentences

I've long harbored the idea of including complicated sentence diagrams on One Step Forward, but I've come to accept that I have neither the space nor the graphics skills to make them worth our collective while. I firmly believe that diagramming sentences gives people insight into how language fits together and helps them learn to identify various parts of speech. Then again, I could simply by trying to rationalize my inordinate fascination with the practice.

Whatever the case, I'd like to draw your attention to several sites that focus on diagramming sentences. While you may have as much difficulty as I do diagramming them on the computer, doing so with pencil and paper--especially when you use a different color pencil for each part of speech--forces you to focus on how the words in any sentence relate to each other. You find yourself considering the function of each piece of a sentence, and once you see that function you can better decide whether you truly need that piece of the puzzle or it simply wastes words and dilutes your point.