Sentence Diagrams

Sentence 5

There is little evidence yet of the "new approach" that Bobby Knight promised in return for one last chance to behave suitably as men's basketball coach at Indiana University.

          - Louisville, KY, The Courier-Journal, June 1, 2000, editorial page

 
Lesson 5: Words that modify nouns are called adjectives. Adjectives describe or limit nouns. Let's take the noun tree as an example. A large tree is different from a small tree, a green tree is different from a yellow tree, and an evergreen tree is different from a deciduous tree. When we place the word tall before tree, we limit tree to a particular kind. Tall tree calls to mind redwoods, poplars, sycamores, cottonwoods, and eucalyptus, but not dogwoods, redbuds, and most fruit trees. In the above sentence, the adjectives are little, new, one, and last. The word basketball is a noun which functions as an adjective in this sentence. The word the is called a definite article. When diagramming, write adjectives and articles on a line that slants down from the noun modified. If a noun is modified by more than one adjective, arrange the adjectives from left to right, just as they appear in the sentence. 
Apologia pro descriptio mea: 1. In this sentence, there is an expletive, a placeholder, and is diagrammed separately from the rest of the sentence. 2. Four of the five contiguous phrases under promised are prepositional. Of these, two are adverbial (in return for and as . . . coach) and two are adjectival (for . . . chance and at Indiana University). To behave suitably is an adjectival infinitive phrase. I would have no objection to labeling in return for a phrasal preposition, in which case all three words would be placed on a single slanted line. 3. The relative pronoun that is the direct object of its clause. Its antecedent is the noun approach.
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