Rediscovering the Lost Art of Parsing: Grammar Studies with Diagrams

June 5, 2017

Parsing is a traditional grammar exercise that involves breaking down a text into its component parts of speech with an explanation of the form, function, and syntactic relationship of each part.

Historically, it was one of the fundamental exercises that tested and informed students in English. In 1847, for example, a student may have been given the sentence, Virtue secures happiness.

The child would thereupon reply, “Virtue is a singular noun and the subject of the sentence; secures is a regular verb, indicative mode, active voice, present tense, third person singular; happiness is a singular noun, and the object of the sentence.”

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Grammar Studies

Learning to Parse

If you have any experience diagramming sentences when you were in school, you may have already begun to perspire just reading of this example. Many adults today would agree, the exercise of parsing was tedious and often very difficult the way it was taught in the past.

“In Language, by twelve, they should have a fair knowledge of English grammar, and should have read some literature.” ~ Charlotte Mason

As Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, our studies are loosely based on the classical subjects. When my children were younger, we dabbled in sentence diagramming but didn’t pursue it very far. I had always wanted to return to it, but never found quite the right resource.

That is until now.

Diagramming Made Fun & Easy

When the opportunity to review the Learn with Diagrams program, I jumped at the chance. This was just the product I was looking for … challenging, comprehensive, and most of all, fun!

The game design allows advanced students to move faster and less experienced students get easier questions and additional opportunities. My kids had a blast working through the course materials.

They were taking turns initially, seeing who could diagram the sentence the quickest. Soon, they both had their hands on the mouse wanting to work through all of the sentences.

diagramming sample

A good grammarian can parse a sentence mentally as fast as she can read it. In doing so, she can immediately identify if any grammar rule is violated. If she knows exactly how to parse a sentence, she can analyze it mentally, and correct it quickly.

“As you discover the architecture of the English language, you will start to notice the rhetorical elements of our great writers. Diagramming helps to better understand literature or any complex writing.”

Learn with Diagrams

One of the things we enjoyed most about the lessons was that the sentences were engaging – not dry and lifeless. Throughout the interactive grammar course, students were exposed to the wit and wisdom of writers ranging from Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Kahil Gibran, and Booker T. Washington.

Learn with Diagrams is a fabulous program! I highly recommend it to all families interested in learning more about sentence structure or diagramming.

We used it with the Google Chrome web browser but you can also use it on an iPad. However, it uses Adobe Flash so you’ll need to first download Puffin.

Best of all – it is very affordable! The course is only $19 which provides over 5 hours of lessons, games, and videos. Best of all, you have access to the material for one year. You won’t be pressured to get through it quickly. You can take your time and review as often as you like.

Right now, you can save $10 off with the discount code Grammargame 

Follow Learn with Diagrams to learn more and for future product announcements.


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