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Sentence Patterns

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Sentence Patterns

Sentence Patterns



One recent approach to understanding English sentences asks you to recognize the various patterns upon which English sentences are based. Fortunately for students of English grammar, you need to concern yourself with only nine basic patterns. These basic sentence patterns are combined in various ways to generate (or construct) longer sentences. But no matter how long a sentence is, it is still based on one pattern, or a combination of two or more basic patterns. It follows, then, that if you learn to recognize these patterns (you already know them; you use them in your speech), you will more easily and quickly grasp the basics of the English sentence. Here, in simplified form, are the nine basic patterns of the English sentence:


  1. Noun + Verb to be + Adjective                                                
    The grass is green.
  2. Noun + Verb to be + Adverb                                                    
    My bedroom was upstairs.                                                      
    The single-word adverb in this sentence pattern may be replaced by a prepositional phrase with a "there" or "then” meaning, as in this sentence:                                               
    Mother was in the garden.
  3. Noun1 + Verb to be + Noun1                                                
    Some dogs are good hunters.
  4. Noun + Intransitive Verb 
    The shadows deepened.
  5. Noun1 + Transitive Verb + Noun2 
    The cat caught the mouse.
  6. Noun1 + Transitive Verb + Noun2 + Noun3 
    My brother gave his wife some flowers. 
    or
    Noun1 + Transitive Verb + Noun2 + to + Noun3 
    My brother gave some flowers to his wife.
  7. Noun, + Transitive Verb + Noun2 + X, wherein X equals any one of several possibilities: 
    Another noun or a pronoun 
    We elected Mabel president.
    An adjective 
    They considered Sam handsome.
    ♦ A pronoun 
    The FBI thought Jerry me.
    An adverb of place
    We imagined him downstairs.
    Verb, present participle 
    We found the child crying.
    Verb, past participle 
    The boys found their clothes pressed.
    Prepositional phrase 
    They considered him in their way.
    Infinitive phrase with to be 
    Everyone considered Ella to be a friend.  
    In the Pattern 7 sentence
    (Noun1 + Transitive Verb + Noun2 + X),
    the X may also represent a combination of sentence elements, such as a verb and a prepositional phrase.

  8. Noun + Linking Verb + Adjective  
    The milk smells bad.
  9. Noun + Linking Verb + Noun2 
    Marie remained president until the election.
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Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎

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