Basic Sentence Structures
in the English Language
is a group of words that are put together to make one
Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses
To understand sentence structures in the English
language, you must first have a general understanding of the types of
words that are used to make sentences.
Noun – a person, place or thing
Singular examples (one):
Plural examples (more than one):
brothers, homes, socks, mice
Verb – an action
jump, sit, talk, have
Adjective – describes a noun
Adverb – describes other words (not nouns)
, talks fast
Subject – the noun or nouns that perform the action
The subject of this sentence is the noun, dog, because it is performing
the action of jumping.
Example: Dogs and cats
The subjects of this sentence are the nouns, dogs and cats. This is
called a compound subject
because there is more than one subject
performing the same action.
Object – the noun or nouns that receive the action
The child drank milk
The object of this sentence is the noun, milk, because the child is
drinking the milk. The milk is receiving the action.
She is eating bread and cheese
The objects of this sentence are the nouns, bread and cheese. The subject is eating them both.
Five basic sentence structures
There are five basic sentence structures in the English language.
- The boy plays.
- Jack eats.
- Sara sits.
- The girl pets the cat.
- I love
kicks the ball.
- Lisa is pretty.
- They are nice.
- I am sad.
- Maria laughs loudly.
- The dog
- I am the teacher.
- Jon is a
- The boy
is a student.
The examples above are basic sentences. Basic sentences can be
expanded, or lengthened, by adding adjectives, adverbs and objects.
- Jack eats.
This is the basic subject-verb pattern.
- Jack quickly eats.
An adverb is added (quickly)
to tell how Jack
- Jack quickly eats
An object is added (carrots) to tell what Jack
- Jack quickly eats carrots at
Another adverb is added (at home) to tell where Jack eats.
- Jack quickly eats fresh carrots at
An adjective is added (fresh) to
tell what kind of carrots Jack eats.
- Bill kicks the ball.
This is a basic
Bill kicks the red
An adjective is added (red) to tell the color of the ball.
- Bill kicks the red ball
An adverb is added (hard) to tell how Bill kicks the ball.
- Bill kicks the red ball hard every day.
Another adverb is added (every day) to tell when Bill kicks the ball.
- She looks pretty.
This is the basic subject-verb-adjective pattern.
- She looks pretty
An adverb is added (tonight) to tell when she looks pretty.
- Lisa looks pretty
The subject is identified with
a name (Lisa).
- Apples are
This is the basic subject-verb-adverb pattern.
- Green apples are
An adjective is added (green) to describe the apples.
- Ripe, green apples are
A series of adjectives are
added (ripe and green) to describe the apples.
- The boy is a
This is the basic subject-verb-noun sentence pattern.
- Jon is a student.
The subject is identified with a name (Jon).
- Jon is a smart
An adjective is added (smart) to tell what kind of student
- Jon is a smart student at
An adverb is added (at school) to tell where Jon is a smart student.