English grammar supports very few inflexions. Therefore the order of words in a sentence is very important.
The following is the usual order of words in a sentence.
The subject usually goes before the verb.
- The cat chased the mouse. (Here the subject ‘cat’ goes before the verb ‘chased’.)
The object usually goes after the verb.
- The dog bit the man. (Here the object ‘man’ goes after the verb ‘bit’.)
If the verb has two objects, the indirect object usually goes before the direct object.
- Will you lend me your pen? (Here the indirect object ‘me’ goes before the direct object ‘pen’.)
When the adjective is used attributively, it goes before the noun.
- He was wearing a red cap. (Here the adjective red goes before the noun cap.)
- Few cats like cold water. (Here the adjective ‘few’ goes before the noun ‘cats’.)
When the adjective is used predicatively, it goes after ‘be’ and other copular verbs.
- The boy is asleep. (Here the adjective ‘asleep’ goes after the verb ‘is’.)
- The horse became restive. (Here the adjective ‘restive’ goes after the copular verb ‘became’.)
The adverb should be placed close to the word which it modifies.
- Nothing ever happens by chance.
- He is rather lazy.
- He solved two problems.
- He never tells a lie.