Diagramming Dramatic Dialogue From Action Movies

Hannah Keyser

Grammar provides the bare bones for all language—be it the written words of Leo Tolstoy or the eminently impersonated speech of Arnold Schwarzenegger. When Pop Chart Lab tackled the former in their poster diagramming 25 literary opening lines, they found a community of grammar-philes clamoring for more. Gun-toting action heroes were the natural next step.

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"As we were brainstorming on another topic to diagram, we initially proposed this as a joke and quickly realized it would be a lot of fun," said the creative team at Pop Chart Labs. The new poster displays the color-coded parts of speech for some of the most memorable lines in movies like Independence Day, Die Hard and The Godfather. But what the likes of the Terminator and James Bond make up for in swagger, they sometimes lack in grammatical clarity.

"We had fun pulling together the list of 30, but while doing so found many action figures don't use proper grammar, so our research team had to parse together what the intended meaning was through their snarls," the team said. So in order to diagram John McClane's exclamation, "Yippe-ki-yay, [expletive]" in Die Hard, the team had to infer not just the syntax but also the semantics.