Elizabeth O'Brien

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

Let's diagram a
sentence together!

(Winston Churchill)

You know that I love diagramming sentences, and today we'll be diagramming a sentence together. Here we go!

I'm using a free account on www.letsdiagram.com to make this diagram.

"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.

sentence diagram

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.

sentence diagram

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.

sentence diagram

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. 

sentence diagram

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.

sentence diagram

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."

sentence diagram
Elizabeth O'Brien from Grammar Revolution

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September 18, 2018

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Elizabeth O'Brien

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. :)