Sentence patterns – part I

Every English sentence is based on a certain sentence pattern. These patterns or structures are the building blocks of the language. A basic understanding of the different sentence patterns will help you understand how sentences are constructed.

To create sentences we put together words belonging to different parts of speech. Roughly speaking, the parts of speech are as follows:

  • Noun
  • Pronoun
  • Adjective
  • Verb
  • Adverb
  • Conjunction
  • Preposition
  • Interjection

Common sentence patterns

We have already learned that a sentence consists of two main parts – the subject and the predicate. The subject must contain a noun or a pronoun and the predicate must contain a verb. Sometimes the subject is omitted and then we may get one-word sentences.

Examples are given below.

  • Wait.
  • Stop.
  • Listen.
  • Come.

Note that one-word sentences usually express an order, a request or a command. These sentences are usually imperative in nature. Although we do not express the subject, it is always you.

  • (You) wait.
  • (You) stop.

Noun + verb

This is one of the basic sentence patterns in English. Note that only verbs that do not require an object can be used in this pattern. In grammar these verbs are called intransitive verbs.

Examples are given below.

  • Fire burns.
  • Birds fly.
  • Dogs bark.
  • Children play.
  • Birds sing.