Diagramming Sarah Palin


Sarah, in an interview: No, you know, we were told when we've got to be believing if we have enough elected officials who are going to be standing strong on fiscal conservative principles and free enterprise and we have to believe that there are enough of those elected officials to say, 'No, OK, that's enough.'


  • No, : interjection
    you know, : colloq. & filler
  • we were told : pro & verb phrase
  • when we've got to be believing : [this is where it gets murky] when-prep; we-pro; 've got to be believing - verb phrase
  • if we have enough elected officials : if - prep [now there are 2 prep phrases without a clear, comprehensible attribution]; we - pro; have -v; enough - adj; elected - adj; officials - n
  • who are going to be standing strong : who - pro (ant for "elected officials"); are going to be standing strong - verb phrase, including idiom "standing strong"
  • on fiscal conservative principles and free enterprise : on - prep; fiscal [sic] - should be "fiscally" because it is a modifier of the adjective "conservative"; therefore, it should be the adverb not adjective; conservative - adj; principles - n; and - conj; free - adj; enterprise - n
  • and we have to believe: and-conj; we -pro; have to believe - verb phr
  • that there are enough of those elected officials to say, : that - conj; there - pro; are - vb; enough - adj; of - prep; those - adj; elected - adj; officials - n; to say - infinitive
  • 'No, OK, that's enough.': no - int; ok - idiom/filler; that - pro; 's - is; enough - adj

So, if I were her copyeditor or English teacher I would make the following changes:

No, you know, [we were told when] we've got to [be believing if we] have [enough] elected officials who are going to [be] stand[ing] strong on fiscally conservative principles and free enterprise. [and] We [have to believe that there are enough of] need ]those] elected officials [to] who say, 'No, OK, that's enough.'

The articulate speaker would have said something like:

No. What we need now are elected officials who will stand strong on fiscally conservative principles and free enterprise. We need elected officials who say, "No, that's enough spending. It's time to conserve."

But, I'm in favor of a second stimulus package - and a New New Deal type thing, for that matter - so I would never say that.

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