Sentence Structure

In this page on Sentence Structure, I would like to show how the various parts of a sentence interplay to form a sentence.

You will understand better how a sentence is structured if you know its parts. Therefore, I suggest that you first read about sentence parts here.

Sentence Construction -
Here are Five Ways:

I am now going to show you five ways (patterns) of constructing a sentence. Each pattern or sentence structure can be used for making any number of sentences.

The adverbial is most often not an essential part of the sentence. The brackets around the word 'adverbial' indicate this fact. For more information on adverbials, read about them in the page on Parts of a Sentence.

1. The "Subject-Verb" Structure (S-V)

Subject Intransitive Verb (Adverbial)
The boys jumped over the wall.
He sleeps during lectures.
Birds of the same feather flock together.

2. The "Subject-Verb-Object" Structure (S-V-O)

Subject Transitive Verb Object (Adverbial)
She teaches English at the university.
His car hit a tree this morning.
They will meet the boss next Monday.

3. The "Subject-Verb-Indirect Object-Direct Object" Structure (S-V-IO-DO)

Subject Transitive Verb Indirect Object Direct Object (Adverbial)
The woman gave her daughter a gift on her birthday.
The bank manager reluctantly granted the poor farmer a loan this morning.
Mr. Mendoza taught us Greek in those days.

4. The "Subject-Verb-Subject Complement" Structure (S-V-SC)

Subject Linking Verb Subject(ive) Complement (adverbial)
Hannah was a teacher in Delhi.
The old man looks happy today.
Those young people will become experts soon.

5. The "Subject-Verb-Oobject-Object Complement" Structure (S-V-O-OC)

Subject             Transitive Verb Object                 Object(ive) Complement (Adverbial)
The PM appointed Mr X a minister in 2004.
The Inspector found the man innocent.  
The landlord called the new tenant a crook.  

More About Sentences...

All the sentences I have given as examples above are affirmative sentences, i.e. those that state (declare, mention) some fact.

Other types of sentences, such as negative sentences and question sentences (aka interrogatives) can be constructed from affirmatives by using consistent methods.

More importantly, you will have noticed that in each of these sentences there is only one finite verb (word or phrase). Such sentences are called Simple Sentences.

Sentence structure has different levels. This page has shown you how various sentence parts can come together to form a Simple Sentence. Constructing a simple sentence is like building a room.

What about a house with several rooms?

We do have sentences which can be built from two or more Simple sentences. They are called Complex Sentences and Compound Sentences.

For Further Reading and Study...

Related Pages

The World of Sentences

The Phrase

A Semantic Understanding of the Phrase

The Clause

The Sentence

Parts of a Sentence

Sentence Structure

Subject of a Sentence