One Limitation of Sentence Diagramming

I usually spend the time in these lessons telling you about all of the amazing aspects of Reed-Kellogg sentence diagramming, but today I'm going to show you one of its limitations. 

We're going to diagram a sentence! (Don't worry if you've never diagrammed before. You'll still be able to see the point of this lesson without already knowing how to diagram sentences.)

An unexpected gift arrived in the mail. 

gift = subject

in the mail = adverbial prepositional phrase

unexpected = adjective

arrived = verb (intransitive complete

An = adjective

Bring your attention to how the adjectives an and unexpected are diagrammed.

They are both adjectives, but they have slightly different functions—functions that Reed-Kellogg diagramming doesn't differentiate.

Here is a box illustration that I found helpful. I came across this idea in a diagramming book by Eugene Moutoux.

Unexpected is an adjective modifying the noun gift.

It modifies gift independently. 

An is also an adjective, but it's really modifying the noun phrase unexpected gift

However, we can't show that relationship in Reed-Kellogg diagramming, so we diagram both adjectives an and unexpected in the same way, even though they have slightly different jobs. 

Reed-Kellogg diagramming does an amazing job showing how words function in sentences, but remember that diagramming doesn't always do a perfect job of showing the nuances and subtleties of every grammatical relationship.

Hello! I'm Elizabeth O'Brien, and my goal is to get you jazzed about grammar.

I have your Get Smart program and have been studying all of the videos that are provided. They are very wonderfully made and I enjoy every minute learning from all of them.

-  Preecha

Our Free Guide Gives You A Fun Way To Teach And Learn The Basics!

If you want to teach or learn grammar the easy way, then follow a step-by-step program that clearly lays everything out for you and allows you to move at your own pace. The Get Smart program is presented in a logical sequence, so it's not an overwhelming mishmash of information. Before you know it, you'll be a grammar and sentence diagramming pro. The whole program is online, so you have instant access to these lessons and videos. It's easy and fun. You can get it at www.GrammarRevolution.com/daily-diagrams.html

Keep learning and have fun!

Our Free Guide Gives You A Fun Way

To Teach And Learn The Basics v

Elizabeth O'Brien is the creator of Grammar Revolution.

Her lessons are guaranteed to give you more confidence in your communication skills and make you smile. :)