Sentence Diagrams

The four diagrams below show how sentence structure can be analysed under the Associative Model.

The Associative Model of English is a dependency grammar. There are both linear and non-linear, non-adjacent meaning associations.

Linear meaning associations are marked by solid line arrows, while non-linear, non-adjacent meanings associations are marked by dotted line arrows.

Most linear associations follow the left to right linear order from the Start Here of the sentence beginning but some do not, e.g. prepositional phrases [Sentence 1] and relative clauses [Sentences 2 and 3]. The associations in these cases are reversed.

Each sentence has a root word, which is underlined in the diagrams. Most of the time this root word is the main noun and Focus 1 [F1] of each sentence, except in Sentence 4 when it is F2.

Foci and Information structure are shown in Sentences 2 – 4. Foci are key nouns [including pronouns] and Information consists of the words which tell us more about those Foci.

Diagram 2 shows theme and rheme organisation at a sentence level.

The diagrams also show verb and noun pathways. You will note that in noun pathways the central noun can have linear meaning associations going to the noun both before [e.g. the] and afterwards [e.g. a relative clause].


Adjective: adj

Adverb: adv

Conjunction: conj

Did Form: DdF

Do Form: DF

Do-ing Form: D-ing

Done Form: DnF

Identifier: ident

Modal Modifying Verb: mmv

Number: num

Noun: n

Preposition: prep

Pronoun: pron

Prospective to: pro-to

Relative Pronoun: rel-p

Verb Be Did Form: vbeDdF

Verb Be Do Form: vbeDF

Verb Be Do-ing Form: vbeD-ing

Verb Be Done Form: vbeDnF

Verb Did Form: vDdF

Verb Do Form: vDF

Verb Do-ing Form: vD-ing

Verb Done Form: vDnF

Sentence 1

Willing volunteers were asked to come along to an exhibition and were told that on arrival they would be met by another participant. [From:59 Seconds]

Sentence 2

Limited experiments are being conducted to develop food plants that can tolerate salt or waste water.

[From a US Intelligence Report]

Sentence 3

The pinch of highly refined pink rock salt from the Himalayas which you add before cooking should be slightly warm. [Constructed example]

Sentence 4

To my compatriots I have no hesitation in saying that each of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld. [From a Nelson Mandela speech]