Tag Archives: sentence diagrams

Basic Sentence Diagramming Quick Reference

Basic Sentence Diagramming Chart

Sentence diagramming is a valuable tool to help students visually represent the structures of sentences. It’s true that it is not essential. There are many people who comprehend the deep structures of the English language that do not know how to diagram, but everyone who understands diagramming understands basic grammar.

However, one road that I’ve crossed in my instruction is how to grade diagrams. Often time students understand the grammar, but they forget the diagramming technique.  As a teacher, I had to ask myself whether to deduct points for small mistakes.  The conclusion that I’ve reached is that when presenting tests containing diagrams, I should allow my students to utilize a reference guide that reminds them of the sentence diagramming forms.  This allows me to use diagramming as a way to determine if the students are understanding grammar, and I don’t have to deduct points for mistakes in diagramming technique.

This chart uses the Reed-Kellogg system.

I’ve created a basic sentence diagramming chart. In the coming weeks, I’ll make one for advanced concepts.

I’ve uploaded the chart in both OpenOffice.org 3.0 and PDF formats. Feel free to modify and distribute this material.

Basic Sentence Diagramming Chart (PDF)

Basic Sentence Diagramming Chart (OpenOffice.org 3.0)

Higher Lessons in English by Reed and Kellogg


Higher Lessons in English


The definitive grammar book, the one that sat on Ernest Hemingway’s bookshelf and sparked the sentence diagramming craze of the Industrial Era, is Higher Lessons in English: A Work on English Grammar and Composition by Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg.

This book, originally published in 1877, is long out of copyright and freely available in a number of places around the internet including Project Gutenberg, Plain Label Books on Google Book Search, and the Internet Archive.

Unfortunately, the versions available are next to useless. Each of them was scanned and then interpreted by OCR (object character recognition) software and converted to plain text or some other form of PDF or e-book. The versions freely available on the internet are either totally readible, but impossible to download or easy to download but impossible to read. The problem is that OCR software can’t understand sentence diagrams, and that is what the bulk of this text covers.

Sometime back I did download an actual scanned-PDF, ancient-Kansas City-library version of Lessons in Higher English.  Sadly, I can’t remember the site that I obtained the file; and despite searching for it, I can’t find the original. 

This amazing version of the text has been sitting on my school computer drive taking up space, and today I’ve decided to make this useful, clearly readable version of the text available for download.

If anyone knows a site that offers the original Reed and Kellogg books in scanned PDF form for download, please send me an e-mail or post it in the comments section.

In case you’re interested, the text of the answer key, The Key Containing Diagrams of the Sentences Given for Analysis, is available to view online at the Internet Archive. (If you want to download it, you must click print first.)The full text scan that you can download is utterly useless.


Download the File

Higher Lessons in English by Brainerd Kellogg and Alonzo Reed (PDF).

A hard copy of this book may also be purchased through my Amazon Associates account. For this website to benefit, you must click the link.