Sentence Structure and Word Order

The most basic functions of words in a sentence are subject, predicate and object.
What is a Subject?
Every sentence must have a subject: Alan is coming. Who is coming? Alan.
"Alan" is the subject. He is doing something.
What is an Object?
I like chocolate. What do you like? Chocolate.
"Chocolate" is the object.
"I" is the subject: Who likes chocolate? I do.
What is a Predicate?
Mary is cooking dinner. What is Mary doing? Cooking.
"Is cooking" is the predicate. All the parts that grammatically belong to the verb are part of the predicate. This means: A predicate can be either only one word or several words. For example: cooks; is cooking; was cooking; cook can all be predicate of a sentence.
To build a sentence, put the words in this order: Subject – Predicate – Object
  • I call you.
  • The girl hits the boy.
  • She catches the ball.
  • They hate coffee.
  • Adverbs of time and place are usually put at the end of a sentence: I live in New York.
Only if you want to emphasise a special time or place, you put it at the beginning: Now I'm going!
If you have both an adverb of time and of place, the adverb of place comes first! The rule is: Place before time! I am going home now.
  • Adverbs of frequency usually come in front of the main verb: She often comes late.
Exception: In combination with the verb "to be" they have to be used after the verb: She is often late.

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