How does the English sentence structure work? Here is a quick overview.
Subject Predicate Object?. In this article, we are going to describe English sentence structure and the word order.
The English sentence structure in simple declarative sentences
1) The sentence construction is very strict in English and basically follows the rule “subject – predicate (verb) – object” (SPO).
Example: Adam hates dogs.
2) A second rule concerns the order of place and time in the sentence. Here is always: place before time.
Example: Adam saw a dog in front of the church yesterday.
3) In addition, the time can not be between verb and object, but only unstressed at the end (see last example) or emphasized at the beginning of the sentence.
Example: Yesterday, Adam saw a dog in front of the church.
Summary: simple declarative sentences
1) Subject – predicate – object
2) place before time
3) Time never between verb and object
Word position in questions and negation in English structure
1) To form a question, the auxiliary verb or do / does / did moves in front of the subject.
Is Peter still feeling sick?
Do you like dogs?
2) For questions with question word as part of the subject, the SPO rule applies as in the declarative sentence.
Who saw the dog first?
What child of dogs do you like?
3) If a question is to be answered in the negative , the auxiliary verb is denied.
Would not that be interesting?
Do not you like dogs?
Summary: Questions and negation
1) Questions are made with do
2) Questions with question word follow the SPO rule
3) Questions are denied by the auxiliary verb
Special features of the English sentence structure
1) After here , first , now , there or then , the subject stands behind the full verb. Often these are to go , to come or to be .
Example: Here’s your ticket.
Attention: If the subject is a pronoun, it will not be recreated.
Example: Here it is.
2) Frequency ( often, never, sometimes, usually ) adverbs usually precede a full verb.
I usually go to work at 9.
Adam often washes the dishes.
Attention: If the verb is to be be , the adverbs of frequency are after that.
I am usually happy.
Ali is always late.
Summary: Peculiarities in sentence
1) After here , first , now , there or then: subject behind full verb (exception: pronoun)
2) Adverbs of the frequency before the full verb (exception: to be )