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Sentence Diagram of the Declaration of Independence
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Have you ever read the opening sentence of the Declaration of Independence? It’s pretty long!
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Seeing the sentence diagram can help you understand the meaning of the sentence, but beware! The diagram can be pretty overwhelming at first.
Here’s a color-coded diagram. This is my attempt to simplify it and help you see the main parts of the sentence. You’ll also find a key chart below that will help you identify the parts of the sentence.
a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes
subject of independent clause
verb of independent clause (transitive active)
that they should declare the causes
noun clause – direct object of requires
which impel them to the separation
dependent adjective clause – modifying causes
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary . . . Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them
dependent adverb clause modifying requires from independent clause
subject of dependent adverb clause
to dissolve the political bands . . . and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station
compound infinitive phrase – noun appositive renaming it
verb of adverb clause (intransitive linking)
predicate adjective of adverb clause
which have connected them with another
dependent adjective clause modifying bands
to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them
dependent adjective clause modifying station
There you have it! I hope this lesson helped you understand the Declaration of Independence a little bit better.
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