I'm asking this as a programmer in grad school. We've been tasked with developing an agent that can process and understand sentences. While planning out my approach for this assignment, I found myself diagramming sentences and breaking them down the way I was taught in middle school.

I never had any good resources on sentence diagramming though--just quizzes from school and lessons in class. I've just googled some resources for sentence diagramming, but I'm only finding informal webpages that have diagrams for very simple sentences.

I was wondering if there's any textbooks, journals, any resource really that someone can point me to that'll help me figure out how to diagram more complicated sentences (lots of independent + dependent clauses, probably a lot of prepositions, reviewing adverbial vs adjectival prepositions when diagramming, etc). I'm not even sure where to start looking for resources about this either, so any sort of direction would be much appreciated.

  • There's not much difference between diagramming simple sentences and complex sentences. It's just more of the same, along with some recursion.
    – Barmar
    Oct 10, 2022 at 22:09
  • Isn't a sentence diagram just a form of parse tree? Which would make sentence diagramming a (graphical) approach to parsing. Lots of resources to be found on parsing, probably lots of resources to be found on drawing parse trees too. Oct 11, 2022 at 12:31
  • 1
    Reed-Kellogg sentence diagrams are 19th-century technology, and only work for simple sentences. They are limited to expressing just a few relationships and are best suited to teaching children who have just learned to read. They've been abandoned by English grammarians for at least a century. Oct 11, 2022 at 17:19
  • Find a introductory linguistics text on syntax. Or maybe just a very intro text on linguistics and look at the section on syntax and syntax trees. also do a general search on 'parse trees'?
    – Mitch
    Oct 13, 2022 at 17:08


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