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Sentence Formation – Concept and Its Uses

Sep 2, 2022
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We know that a sentence is a group of words that makes a complete sense. 

In a sentence, the words should be arranged properly to make sense. Word order refers to the way in which words are arranged in a sentence. 

For example: “Drank I milk” does not make any sense, but “I drank milk” makes sense. 

Standard word order 

A basic sentence takes the form subject + predicate

This can be written as: 

parallel
  • subject + verb (SV) 

For example: Bella ate. 

or 

  • subject + verb + object (SVO) 

For example: Bella ate pizza. 

Here,  subject is a noun or pronoun, verb is an action or state of being and object is the noun which is affected by the action. 

Word order in questions 

In questions, the word order will be of the form: auxiliary verb/ modal auxiliary + subject + verb (ASV). Auxiliary verbs like be, do, have change forms but modal auxiliaries like can, may etc., don’t change forms. 

parallel

For example: Did Bella eat ice cream? 
(A)  (S)    (V)    (O) 

Word order with adjectives 

Adjectives are words that describe nouns. Sentences are made more descriptive by adding adjectives before the subject and the object.  

Adjectives often occur before nouns in sentences. 

For example: The hungry Bella ate a tasty ice cream. 

Word order with adverbs 

Adverbs are words that modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb. An adverb can take different positions in a sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence. 

While modifying an adjective or adverb, an adverb should go directly before the word it modifies. 

For example: Bella was extremely hungry. 

Here, the adverb “extremely” modifies the adjective “hungry.” 

While modifying a verb, an adverb should go after the verb it modifies. 

For example: Bella walked quickly to the ice cream shop. 

This is the best position of the adverb although other uses are also correct. 

Adverbs of frequency appear directly after the subject. 

For example: Bella rarely eats ice creams. 

Adverbs of time can occur either at the beginning or end of the sentence. When the adverb occurs at the end, it gives importance to the time. If the adverb comes at the beginning, then the time is not given much importance. 

For example: Bella ate an ice cream yesterday. (Importance to “yesterday”) 

Yesterday Bella ate an ice cream. (Importance to “Bella ate an ice cream.”) 

Word order with indirect objects 

A direct object is the person or thing who is affected by the action of the verb. 

An indirect object is the person for whom the action is done.  

An indirect object usually appears before the direct object (SVIO). 

For example: I gave Bella an ice cream. 

Here, Bella is the indirect object and “ice cream” is the direct object. 

Word order with prepositional phrases 

When prepositions like “to” or “for” are used, the indirect object comes after the direct object. In such cases, the indirect object becomes part of the prepositional phrase (SVOP). 

For example: I gave an ice cream to Bella. 

Certain prepositional phrases which denote time and location can come either at the beginning  or the end of the sentence. 

For example: Bella ate an ice cream at the carnival

At the carnival Bella ate an ice cream. 

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