These don't look like syntax trees in undergrad linguistics syntax textbooks. Do linguists use these diagrams? What are they called?

Page 343.

    Diagrams for grammatical analysis are visual aids to understanding sentence structure. The following diagrams reflect a conventional method of “mapping” parts of speech. Reviewing these diagrams should assist writers in identifying the true Subject, Verb, and Object in their sentences. Only with a clear understanding of Subjects, Verbs, and Objects and how they interrelate can a writer produce clear and direct sentences.


Page 347.

  1. Complex Sentence

i. The race will continue unless the rain ruins the track.
ii. Until the motion is heard, the court will not rule.

enter image description here

Bahrych, Merino. Legal Writing and Analysis in a Nutshell 5th edition (2017). 343.

  • 7
    They're called "Reed-Kellogg diagrams".
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 12 '20 at 6:49
  • 1
    They apparently used to be taught in every US school, but are unknown in the UK (and I suspect elsewhere in the Anglosphere).
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 12 '20 at 13:27
  • 3
    Dreadful stuff. This is what Wikipedia says about the Reed-Kellogg system: "The connections to modern principles for constructing parse trees are present in the Reed-Kellogg diagrams, although Reed and Kellogg understood such principles only implicitly". This contrasts them with modern systems, implying that they are out-of-date. The Reed-Kellogg method of "diagramming" sentences has been intellectually obsolete for a hundred years. I can't see any reason for preferring it to the modern system. Avoid it at all costs!
    – BillJ
    Nov 12 '20 at 14:20
  • Like the Electoral College, there's no reason to prefer it, but it's traditional. That's why it's appearing in a legal text.
    – jlawler
    Nov 13 '20 at 16:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.