Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sentence Diagramming Challenge

My friend, Hannah @ Here in the Lovely Woods, and I have been challenging each other with sentences to diagram. Now, we may be the only crazy people out there, but we think sentence diagramming is as fun, as brain-stretching, and even as relaxing as solitaire or Sudoku or crosswords or jigsaw puzzles.

I picked a doozy this week. It was a fairly random sentence from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain, which I happened to have handy. I’ve given it a good go, but I wondered if anyone else would like in on the challenge. You can write out your diagram and send me a picture ( It would be particularly helpful if an expert wanted to join us. You know, so we could actually figure out what we did incorrectly… If anyone is willing to have their diagram pictures posted, I think it would be awfully fun to do that, too. I’ll post mine!

Are you up for it?!! Here is the sentence:

"I was in a dismal state by this time; indeed, I was hardly enough in my right mind to keep the run of a dispute that sprung up as to how I had better be killed, the possibility of the killing being doubted by some, because of the enchantment in my clothes."

Go for it, and let me know how it went!


Okay, here is my attempt. I wasn’t sure how to diagram ‘because of’ so I guessed phrasal subordinate conjunction and then added an understood predicate for a clause. (Yeah, that’s probably stretching it… Ha!) Hannah pointed out that ‘because of’ is a phrasal preposition, so I added that alternate diagram. And I couldn’t decide whether to diagram ‘indeed’ as an interjection or an adverb. I’m sure there are a few other ‘iffy’ spots on this diagram. (Oh, and I left off ‘a’ from ‘dispute!’)


Kellie from Blue House Academy played along! It was a TOUGH sentence. Maybe hers is correct! Doesn’t it look lovely?!

Kellie's Diagram


Hannah said...

Did you read the post I wrote last night where I compared diagramming to Sudoku, or do we just think alike?! ;-)

I've been working on it off and on today, and I'd say this is our toughest one yet. Off to email you my progress. Hope we find some kindred spirits, but if not, I'm perfectly satisfied with a certain house-cleaning avoider, long-time blogger, and lover of the little things.

Katie said...

I haven't diagrammed a sentence since fourth grade. Any recommendations on where to learn how to do such a marvelous thing?

Heidi said...

Hannah~ I was so happy to have a (really good) reason to avoid cleaning house today! :) And we just think alike. Thanks for being a kindred spirit. :)

Katie~ You could start with YouTube. I think this instructor has a full series of videos teaching diagramming.

Kellie said...

I think this is my first time to comment here, which is shameful because I've been reading your blog probably almost a year!

I was so eager to get to sleep early last night, but decided to peek at some blogs first and came across your challenge. I keep my sentence diagramming textbook from college near the bed, next to the sudoku and kakuro books, so you're not alone. Needless to say, I didn't go to sleep early last night. : )

But this is a HARD sentence! I'll try to take a picture this afternoon, but I think I'm too embarrassed to have it posted. I started giving up figuring how to connect the different parts. : )

Heidi said...

Kellie~ Yes, it *is* a HARD sentence! I shouldn't have started out with that one on my blog. ;-P I'd love to see your diagram even if you don't want me to post it. :)

I think I'll try to post an easier sentence so that more people can participate!

(BTW, I'm just learning how to diagram, so I have to research each little thing before I can diagram it!)

Hannah said...

Yea! A taker! ;-)

And Melissa, here in Austin (the Resident Expert) wants to see our sentences, too.

Heidi said...

Okay, I'll try to get mine posted later today or early tomorrow. :)

CC Jen said...

Oh, my! I need to take Essentials for a year before I can contemplate properly diagramming that sentence :)

Kellie said...

I sent you my diagram. Yours looks great! I originally had "enough" as the predicate adj. but then changed it. But now looking at yours, I wish I had left it. : )

How fun!