What is this sort-of sentence diagramming?
January 3, 2017 1:15 PM   Subscribe

In grade school, we did some grammatical analysis that isn't quite sentence diagramming. What is it?

This was outside Chicago at Catholic school in the late 90s/early 00s. We did this mostly in 7th and 8th grade.

We would have to analyze 2-5 sentences a night. We would write out the sentence on ruled handwriting paper. Above each word of the sentence, we would write the part of speech on top. Below each word of the sentence, we would write the syntax of each word. Below the whole sentence, we would have to do noun qualities (kind, gender, person, number, case) and verb qualities (mood, tense, voice, person, use, number). Above the whole sentence, we would write the sentence mood and...something else (either complex or simple based on presence of subordinate clauses). The expectations increased as we learned; we started with just simple sentences and using noun/verb/adjective, but moved to things like "abstract noun"/"copulative verb"/"indefinite article adjective".

Here's an example of what it would look like (sideways and messy, since it's been a long time). It got a lot more complicated when we had subordinate clauses and such.

(As an aside, this diagramming or whatever has been invaluable as a foundation for both foreign languages and writing!)
posted by quadrilaterals to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
(In technical linguistic terms, this looks like a very simple kind of dependency parsing. You're marking each word for part of speech, and also marking how the words depend on each other, where relationships like "X is the subject of Y," "X is the object of Y" and "X modifies Y" are all kinds of dependency. There's probably a less technical name for this particular way of doing it, though.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:31 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't know the answer myself but I stumbled on this article just yesterday that might help.
posted by _Mona_ at 2:46 PM on January 3, 2017

We called it parsing. I still thoroughly enjoy it.
posted by Ruki at 4:36 PM on January 3, 2017

We called it parsing too. I didn't learn the line method described, but something alarmingly similar to that described in Covell's Digest of English Grammar from 1855, even down to the bit explaining why it was a sentence.
posted by scruss at 4:57 PM on January 3, 2017

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