Diagramming Sentences

Sentence Diagrams

~ One Way of Learning English Grammar ~

The Anatomy of a Sentence

 Part 7

Every year on the afternoon of December 24, you, a Christmas procrastinator, loaded down with sacks and boxes, walk from store to store, down endless aisles, your eyes scanning windows and racks to find the perfect presents for Mom, Grandpa, and Uncle Joe, but since you know in your heart of hearts that Uncle Joe will appreciate nothing you give him and that you will capitulate to necessity and buy Grandpa a fifth of Seagramís, you concentrate on Mom, as you move into the aisle that you hope to be able to call the final stop of this holiday season.
The phrase your eyes scanning windows and racks consists of the noun eyes, the present active participle scanning, and a compound direct object of the participle. The entire phrase, which is grammatically independent from the rest of the sentence, is called a nominative absolute (similar to the Latin ablative absolute). Since it is an absolute expression, there is no line connecting it to the rest of the diagram. Notice that loaded, a past participle, and scanning, a present participle--the former passive, the latter active--are both diagrammed in the same way. Unlike a past participle, a present active participle can have a direct object.
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