The Big 5: Sentence Structure in English
Real accuracy in English is easy once you know how to order the words in a sentence. Without the proper word order you may confuse the person you are speaking to, or at the least make it harder for them to understand you. Once you know the basic rules of word order you will find it much easier to speak and write in English with confidence.
In this first part we look at the basic elements of sentence structure. Please check out Part 2 for more information.
There are five basic sentence structures in the English language.
1: Subject + Verb
- The children play.
- We study.
- Sara reads.
2: Subject + Verb + Object
- The children play football.
- We study English.
- Sara reads books.
3: Subject + Verb + Adjective
- The children are tired.
- Sara is smart.
- The book was long.
4: Subject + Verb + Adverb
- The children speak loudly.
- We study every day.
- Sara reads quietly.
5: Subject + Verb + Noun
- They are children.
- We are students.
- Sara is a teacher.
Parts of Speech
Before you can put a sentence together using any of the structures above, you must first know the parts of speech that are included in the structures and how they function. The 4 main parts of speech are Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives and Adverbs. Here is a brief explanation of what they are and what they do.
Nouns: People, places and things. Ex: The children, Sara, books, school
Verbs: Actions (physical or mental). Ex: read, play, feel, think
Adjectives: Words that describe Nouns. Ex: smart, sad, tired, long, red
Adverbs: Words that describe how or when the action happens. Ex: loudly, quietly, every day
Subjects & Objects
Subject: Every sentence must have a subject. The subject will always be a noun. The subject is the person, place or thing that does the action (verb). In simple sentences, the subject always comes at the beginning of a sentence.
Object: Not all sentences have objects, but all objects are nouns. The object is the person, place or thing that receives the action (verb). In simple sentences, the object will always come after the subject and verb.
Would you like to practice? You can try this game.
Be sure to read part 2 to learn more about sentence structure in English.