Homework Help: Diagramming Adverb Modifiers

To demonstrate your comprehension of grammar, you may be given homework assignments to diagram sentences. To be successful, you'll need to know all the main components found in sentences and what it means to diagram. Keep reading to learn about diagramming adverb modifiers.

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Help with Diagramming Adverb Modifiers


Adverbs are used to provide detailed information about verbs. They identify where, when, why, how and to what extent the action occurs in a sentence. Many adverbs end in -ly but not all. Take a look at the following two sentences:

Sarah danced in the competition.
Daniel ran the race.

Both sentences are written correctly. They also give you enough information to picture the action in your mind. However, notice how adding adverbs to the sentences makes them more interesting.

Sarah danced gracefully in the competition.
Daniel ran the race swiftly.


Modifiers are words, clauses or phrases that strengthen sentences by adding more description. Writers often use them to enhance their writing and make it more interesting for readers. Modifiers can be adjectives, adverbs, infinitive phrases, prepositional phrases or participle phrases, among others. They must be placed carefully in sentences to be sure readers know what they are describing. Misplacing modifiers can lead to confusion.


Diagramming is a way of breaking a sentence up using visual illustrations, such as lines. The purpose is to help you identify the various components that make up a sentence. Furthermore, diagramming helps you make sure the parts of the sentence have been written correctly. For this reason, you'll often make diagrams for the sentences of other writers as well as your own.

On your homework assignments, you may be asked to diagram the whole sentence or specific parts. When diagramming adverbs, there are certain procedures for each of their modifying functions. Adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. The way you diagram each of these is explained briefly below. To see a visual example you can do a search for diagramming adverb modifiers on the Internet.

Adverbs Modifying Verbs

When you diagram adverbs that modify verbs, you drop the adverbs below the verbs they modify. You do this by placing the modifiers on a slanted line below the action words.

Adverbs Modifying Adjectives & Adverbs

Diagramming adverbs that modify adjectives and other adverbs also require dropping the adverbs below the words they modify. However, instead of diagonal line, they are placed on lines that look like an upside-down L.

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