Basic Sentence Structure

There are five basic patterns in the English language around which sentences are built. One you grasp Basic Sentence Structure, communicating in English will be far easier for you. If you would like to learn more about Basic Sentence Structure, you’ve come to the right place. Feel free to look around, learn, and practice.

basic sentence structure
1- The S + V Pattern
Form
Subject + Verb

She cooks.

Mark is reading.

He is going to call tomorrow.

The Subject + Verb pattern can be used with other phrases in order to achieve various desirable effects.

He works. (the core sentence)

He works hard. (an adverb is added to describe how he works)

He works at the office. (a prepositional phrase is added to say where he works)

He works every day. (a time expression is added to say when he works)

He is working right now. (the verb tense is changed but the Subject + Verb relationship stays the same)

John is going to work this weekend. (The subject and verb tense is changed)

* NOTE: We can use any action verb with this sentence pattern.

2- The S + V + O Pattern.
Form
Subject + Verb + Object
Form

Tara likes sushi.

Matt loves his car.

He’s reading a book.

The Subject + Verb + Object pattern can be used with other phrases in order to achieve various desirable effects.

He likes computers. (the core sentence)

Harry likes computers. (the subject is specific)

Tech savvy people like computers. (the subject modified with an adjective)

The people at the convention like computers. (the subject modified with an adjective)

People like mobile computers. (the object modified with an adjective)

People like powerful, mobile computers. (the object modified with more than one adjective)

* NOTE: Only transitive action verbs can be used with this sentence pattern.

3- The S + V + Adj Pattern.
Form
Subject + Verb + Adjective

He’s stressed.

The students are smart.

Robin seems upset.

The Subject + Verb + Adjective pattern can be used with other phrases in order to achieve various desirable effects.

She is happy. (basic sentence with the verb “be”)

She seems fine. (basic sentence with a different linking verb)

Stephanie is tall, blond, and beautiful. (a series of adjectives)

She appears quite satisfied. (an adverb or intensifier is added)

Lisa became sick last night. (using a different tense and linking verb)

* NOTE: Only linking verbs can be used with this sentence pattern.

4- The S + V + Adv Pattern.
Form
Subject + Verb + Adverb

We left afterwards.

Tom and Alice drove there.

Motorcycles are everywhere.

The Police are here. (basic sentence)

The Police are over there. (using an adverb phrase)

Police officers are everywhere. (plural noun and verb used)

The police are in front of the building. (prepositional phrase functioning as an adverb)

* NOTE: Only linking verbs can be used with this sentence pattern.

5- The S + V + N Pattern.
Form
Subject + Verb + Noun

He is an architect. (basic sentence)

They are architects. (uses a plural noun and verb)

My wife is a great person. (modified subject and complement)

My classmates are creative people. (modified plural subject and complement)

* NOTE: Only linking verbs can be used with this sentence pattern.