Before you can effectively write using the English language, or even analyze how others use writing effectively, you need to be familiar with the basic parts and components of the English language. I know grammar isn’t your favorite subject to study and learn (hey, it isn’t my favorite either), BUT knowing and being able to identify these smaller component of your own language will allow you to write more effectively and assess and improve your own writing as the year progresses.

This week we will be examining how to correctly diagram verbals – gerunds, participial and infinitives.

Gerunds end with -ing and act as nouns.

Participials end in -ing, -d, -t, or -n, and act as adjectives.

Infinitives are to+verb, and they act as adjectives, nouns or adverbs.

 

 

Gerunds are function as subjects, direct object, indirect objects, objects of prepositions and more. When you diagram a gerund, you place them on ‘steps’. Put the -ing of the verb on the lower step and the rest of the verb on the upper step. You then attach your steps to the sentence with a pedestal in whichever part of speech the gerund is functioning as.

In the sentence ‘Running is fun’, running is a gerund. It is formed from the verb ‘run’ and ends in -ing, and functions as a noun in the subject of the sentence.

Gerunds can also have compliments (direct/indirect obj) or modifiers (adj, adv). These are called gerund phrases.

The sentence ‘Running marathons is fun’ is a gerund phrase. It’s made up of the gerund ‘running’ and the direct object ‘marathons’.

Now practice with the following sentences:

  1. My sister and I enjoy laughing.
  2. Wow! Riding my bike is really fun.
  3. Jumping rope for twenty minutes is good for your heart.
  4. My favorite game is throwing a frisbee to my dog.
  5. I dream of diving to the bottom of the ocean.

 

Next, you should practice diagramming sentences with infinitives.

Infinitives act as a noun, adjective or adverb and is made up of two words: to+verb.

For example, in the sentence Kittens want to play, the infinitive ‘to play’ acts as a noun (or direct object) of the verb ‘want’.

infinative1

There are also ‘bare infinitives’  – these are infinitives that do not have the ‘to’ in front of the verb. They normally occur with verbs like feel, hear, help, let, make, see and watch.

Additionally, there are also infinitive phrases, where you have the infinitive and the words that modify and/or compliment it.

infinative2

To diagram infinitives, you’ll need to follow these rules:

infinative3

 

Now practice with the following sentences:

  1. I love to go to the movie with my friends.
  2. The best thing for me to do is to try to control my urge to shop.
  3. If I plan to save my money for the trip, I definitely need to resist the temptation to shop online.
  4. I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving Break to get here.
  5. I cannot wait to see The Last Jedi on opening night.