Diagramming Sentences

Sentence Diagrams

by Eugene R. Moutoux

~ One Way of Learning English Grammar ~

Sentences from the United States Constitution

Preamble: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Lesson 1: The noun phrase the people of the United States (the noun people and its modifiers) is an appositive. An appositive identifies or supplements a preceding noun, noun phrase, or pronoun (the expressions are usually consecutive) and is said to be in apposition with that expression.  The principal noun of an appositive is placed in parentheses immediately following the expression with which it is in apposition. Its modifiers are diagrammed in the usual manner.
Apologia pro descriptione mea: It seems best to diagram in order to exactly as one would diagram the to-component of an infinitive. The alternative, i.e., to separate in order from to and then diagram in order as a prepositional phrase appears to be unacceptable for two reasons: 1) in order (without to) is always adjectival and could not be diagrammed from the verb do; 2) the in order of in order to has no meaning apart from to.
It has been brought to my attention that early Americans used the expression United States with plural verbs such as are and have, which may mean that they thought of the United States primarily as the individual states of a union rather than primarily as a union of individual states. The diagram at the left expresses this view. United, sometimes a participle, is a simple adjective here.
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