Diagramming Sentences

Sentence Diagrams

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Sentences from the United States Constitution

 
Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Lesson 5: 1. Whenever an article or an adjective is distributed among two or three nouns, it should be diagrammed from a place on the horizontal line that allows for this distribution. For example, with the phrase unreasonable searches and seizures, one should not diagram unreasonable from searches (for then it would apply only to searches, nor from seizures (for then it would be seen to modify only seizures. 2. Note the present active participle describing and the past participle supported (Cf. Amendment 1, Lesson 2). 3. By no means all infinitives and infinitive phrases are adjectival; however, the three used in this amendment (to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, to be searched, and to be seized) function as adjectives by modifying the nouns right and places and the noun phrase persons or things, respectively:
Apologia pro descriptione mea: 1. As in Amendment 3, but functions as a subordinating conjunction with the meaning of "except." It requires an understood clause such as "warrants issue" or "they issue."
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