"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;
an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
- Winston Churchill
If you already know how to diagram, go ahead and try diagramming this sentence. If you'd like some assistance along the way, watch the video or check out the steps below. I'll include links to other lessons so that you can easily learn about each part of the sentence.
Step 1: Identify the structure of the sentence along with the subjects and verbs.
A sentence's structure tells us how many independent and dependent clauses it contains. Once we know this, we'll know how to structure our sentence diagram. This is a compound sentence. It contains two independent clauses that are joined with a semicolon.
Next, we need to identify the subject and verb in both of the clauses. If the verb has a complement (such as a direct object), we'll identify that as well.
Diagram these parts of the sentence. This information gives us the "bones" of the sentence.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity = independent clause #1
pessimist = subject
sees = verb (transitive active)
difficulty = direct object (noun)
(x) = This symbol in the sentence diagram shows us that the two independent clauses are not connected with a coordinating conjunction, but with a semicolon.
an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty = independent clause #2
optimist = subject
sees = verb (transitive active)
opportunity = direct object (noun)
Step 2: Identify the adjectives and adverbs in the first clause.
Adjectives tell us more about nouns and pronouns. Adverbs tell us more about verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.
The first clause has two adjectives and no adverbs.
We'll diagram the two adjectives under the words that they are modifying.
A = adjective modifying pessimist
the = adjective modifying difficulty
Step 3: Identify the prepositional phrases in the first clause.
Prepositional phrases begin with a preposition and end with a noun or pronoun. The first clause has one prepositional phrase (in every opportunity). We'll diagram it under the word that it is modifying.
in every opportunity = prepositional phrase
Step 4: Identify the adjectives and adverbs in the second clause.
The second clause has two adjectives and no adverbs. We'll diagram the adjectives under the words that they are modifying.
an = adjective modifying optimist
the = adjective modifying opportunity
Step 5: Identify the prepositional phrases in the second clause.
The second clause has one prepositional phrase. We'll diagram it under the word that it is modifying.
in every difficulty = prepositional phrase
Our Final Sentence Diagram
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
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September 18, 2018
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