Diagramming Sentences

Sentence Diagrams

~ One Way of Learning English Grammar ~

Sentences from the United States Constitution

Amendment 6: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Lesson 7: 1. In a sentence diagram, the first word of the sentence is capitalized, no matter where it appears in the diagram. 2. In this sentence, we have a gerund phrase, obtaining witnesses in his favor. A gerund is a verbal noun; it always ends in -ing, although not all ing-nouns are gerunds. One that clearly isn't is "nothing," but of course it's not formed from a verb. A word like "opening" is formed from a verb and is only sometimes a gerund. For example, in the sentence "they have an opening in the sales department," opening is a mere noun. One way of telling is that you can pluralize this "opening": "they have openings in the sales department." Now check out this sentence: "Opening a new business is risky." Here opening is clearly verbal, for it has a direct object, a new business. Used in this way, opening is a gerund. In Amendment 6, obtaining has the direct object witnesses, so we can be certain that it is a gerund. When diagrammed, a gerund phrases (the gerund with its modifiers and objects) is diagrammed atop a pedestal, with the gerund itself on a step-down line. Ideally, the gerund curves like a backward s on its side, following more or less the angles of the step-down. I haven't learned to do that on my computer. 3. This amendment has four infinitive phrases, all of them adverbial. 
Apologia pro descriptione mea: Wherein is a relative adverb (cf. Amendment 5), which replaces the prepositional phrase in which place.  This relative adverb has only one solid end because it replaces only one adverbial expression. 
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