The Value of Diagramming Sentences

Students often ask why they have to diagram sentences. Diagramming is helpful because it creates a visual representation of how language is put together. While many grammar and writing series do not include diagramming, the authors of Voyages in English, a comprehensive writing and grammar program published by Loyola Press, have remained steadfast in their commitment to this useful exercise.

Guide for Visual Interaction

Diagramming is a valuable tool that visually represents grammar and helps students see the role of the parts of speech and how the words in a sentence fit together. For example, a student may not grasp the definition of a gerund, but diagramming a gerund clearly shows its place and function in a given sentence. For many students a diagram provides the “aha” moment in which they understand what had been an abstract concept. This method of instruction is especially helpful for students who are visual, logical, and spatial learners.

Blueprint for Logical Communication

When the way we communicate can change overnight, there is something comforting about the formal logical rules of diagramming. A diagram always begins with a straight horizontal line. A short vertical line bisects the horizontal line, separating the subject and the verb. The finished product is a blueprint structure of a sentence—the bare bones of the way we write. Thankfully, texts like Voyages in English stay the course and continue to set the standard.