Verb Pattern 1:This pattern is for the verb “be”. The subject complement may be a noun, a pronoun, an adjective, an adjective phrase (e.g. a propositional group). There may be an adverbial or an infinitive “to”. Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP1Subject + BE Subject complement/adverbial1. This is a book.2. This suitcase is mine.3. The children are asleep.4. This book is for you.5. This is where I work.
VP1 ContinuedThere are variations with introductory there/it. There/It + BE Subject1. There was a large crowd.2. It was impossible to go further.3. It was a pity the weather was so bad.
Examples of VP2ASubject vi1.We all breath, drink and eat.2.The moon rose.3.A period of political unrest followed.
Verb Pattern 2A (cont)There are variations with introductory there/it1. There followed a long period of political unrest.2. It doesn’t matter whether we start now or later.
Verb Pattern 2A (cont)That-clauses are possible after seem, appear, happen, chance and follow.1.It seemed (that) the day would never end.2.It so chanced/happened (that) we were out when she called.3. It doesn’t followed (that) they are husband and wife.
Verb Pattern 2BVerbs in this pattern are used with an adverbial adjunct of distance, duration, weight, cost, etc. For many occur before adverbials of distance and duration. An indirect object may occur after cost, last and take (meaning ‘require’). Click here for some examples.
Examples of VP2BSubject + vi (for) + adverbial adjunct1.We walked (for) five minutes.2.The meeting lasted (for) two hours.3.The book costs (me) $1.20.4.This book weighs five kilos.
Verb Pattern 2CMany intransitive verbs are used with an adverbial adjunct (including an adverbial particle alone, or an adverbial particle followed by a preposition). Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP2CSubject + vi adverbial adjunct1. Go away!2. Please come in.3. I’ll soon catch up with you.4. It’s getting on for midnight.5. It looks like rain/as if it were going to rain.
Verb Pattern 2DVerbs in this pattern are followed by an adjective, a noun or, in the case of a reflexive verb, a pronoun. Inchoative verbs (eg become, come, get) and verbs of the senses (eg smell, taste, feel) are among the many verbs used in this pattern. Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP2DSubject + vi adjective/noun/pronoun1. Her dreams have come true.2. The fire has burnt low.3. She married young.4. He died a millionaire.5. Later he became an acrobat.6. You’re not looking yourself.
Verb Pattern 2EIn this pattern the predicative adjunct is a present participle.Subject + vi present participle1. She lay smiling at me.2. Do you like to go dancing?3. The children came running to meet us.
Verb Pattern 3AVerbs in this pattern are followed by a preposition and its object (which may be a noun, pronoun, gerund, phase, or clause). The verb and preposition function as a unit. Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP3ASubject + vi preposition + noun/pronoun1. You may rely on that man/his discretion/his being discreet.2. Can I count on your help?3. What has happened to them?
Verb Pattern 3A (cont)An infinitive phase may follow the noun/pronoun.1. We’re waiting for our new cat to be delivered.2. I rely on you to be discreet.3. She pleaded with the judge to have mercy.
Verb Pattern 3BThe preposition is omitted before a that- clause, thus producing the same word order as in [VP9] (for transitive verbs). He insisted on his innocence. [VP3A] He insisted that he was innocent. [VP3B]Cf He declared that he was innocent. [VP9]
Verb Pattern 3B (cont)The preposition may be retained if its object is a dependent question, or if a preceding ‘preposition + it’ construction is used. Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP3BSubject + vi (preposition (+it)) clause1. I agree that it was a mistake.2. You must see (to it) that this sort of thing never occurs again.3. I hesitated (about) whether to accept your offer.4. Have you decided (upon) where you will go for your holiday?5. Don’t worry (about) how the money was lost.
Verb Pattern 4AIn this pattern the verb is followed by a to- infinitive of purpose, outcome, or result.Subject + vi to-infinitive1. We stopped to rest / to have a rest.2. How did you come to know her?3. Will he live to be ninety?4. Someone has called to see you.
Verb Pattern 4BThe infinitive may be equivalent to a co-ordinate clause.Subject + vi to-infinitive1. He awoke to find the house on fire.2. The good old days have gone never to return.3. Electronic music has clearly come to stay.4. He looked round to see the door slowly opening.
Verb Pattern 4CThe infinitive adjunct is used after some verbs which, in [VP3A], are used with prepositions. Don’t trouble / bother about that. Don’t trouble / bother to meet me.Subject + vi to-infinitive1. She hesitated to tell anyone.2. She was longing to see her family again.3. He agreed to come at once.
Verb Pattern 4DThe verbs seem and appear are used in this pattern. If the infinitive is be with an adjective or noun as complement, to be may be omitted (unless the adjective is one that is used only predicatively, as in [VP4E]).Subject + seem/appear (to be)+ adjective/noun1. He seemed (to be) surprised at the news.2. This seems (to be) a serious matter.
Verb Pattern 4D (cont)There is a variation of this pattern with introductory it, when the subject is an infinitive or gerund, or a clause. adjective/It + seem/appear noun subject1. It seemed reasonable to try again.2. It seems a pity to waste all that food.3. It doesn’t seem much use going on.4. It appears unlikely that we’ll arrive on time.
Verb Pattern 4EIf the adjective after seem/appear is used only predicatively (eg awake, asleep, afraid), to be is obligatory. Happen and chance are also used in this pattern. Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP4E HAPPEN / CHANCESubject + SEEM / APPEAR to-infinitive1. The baby seems to be asleep/to be sleeping.2. My enquiries seem to be have resented.3. She happened to be out when I called.4. We chanced to meet in the park.5. There seems to have been some mistakes.
Verb Pattern 4FThe finites of be are used with a to-infinitive to convey a variety of meanings → be* (3)Subject + BE to-infinitive1. We’re to be married in May.2. At what time am I to come?3. How am I to pay my debt?
Verb Pattern 5In this pattern the auxiliary verbs or anomalous finites will/would, shall/should, can/could, must, dare, need are followed by a bare infinitive (ie without to). The phrase had better, had/would rather and would sooner fit into this pattern. Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP5Subject + anomalous finite infinitive1. You may leave now.2. You needn’t wait.3. You’ll find it in that box.4. I didn’t dare tell anyone.5. You’d better start at once.
Verb Pattern 6AThe verbs in this pattern have a noun or pronoun as direct object. Conversion to the passive voice is possible. Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP6A Subject + vt noun/pronoun 1. Did you enjoy the film? 2. We all had a good time. 3. Everyone likes her.
Verb Pattern 6BThe verbs in this pattern have a noun or pronoun as direct object, but conversion to the passive voice is not possible. Have, meaning ‘possess/take/eat/drink’, follows this pattern. Reflexive verbs, and verbs with cognate objects, follow this pattern. Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP6B Subject + vt noun/pronoun 1. Have you had breakfast yet? 2. She has green eyes. 3. Have you hurt yourself? 4. She smiled her thanks. 5. He dreamed a very odd dream.
Verb Pattern 6CIn this pattern the object is a gerund, not replaceable by a to-infinitive.Subject + vt noun/pronoun1. She enjoys playing tennis.2. Have you finished talking?3. I resent being spoken to so rudely.
Verb Pattern 6DIn this pattern the object is a gerund. This may be replaced by a to-infinitive. For the difference between like swimming and like to swim, see the notes on [VP6D] in Guide to Patterns and Usage.Subject + vt gerund1. She loves going to the cinema.2. I’ll continue working while my health is good.3. He began talking about his clever children.
Verb Pattern 6EAfter need, want (=need) and won’t/wouldn’t bear, the gerund is equivalent to a passive infinitive.Subject + NEED/WANT/BEAR gerund1. He’ll need looking after (= to be looked after)2. My shoes want mending (= to be mended).3. His language wouldn’t bear repeating (= was too bad to be repeated).
Verb Pattern 7AIn this pattern the object of the verb is a to- infinitive. (For intransitive verbs with the same word order, see [VP4].)Subject + vt (not) + to-infinitive1. Do they want to go?2. He pretended not to see me.3. We hope/expect/intend to climb Mount Everest.4. I forgot/remembered to post you letters.
Verb Pattern 7BOught, and the finites of have in this pattern indicate obligation. In colloquial style have got to is more usual than have to.Subject + HAVE/OUGHT (not) + to-infinitive1. Do you often have to work overtime?2. You don’t have to leave yet, do you?3. You ought not to waste you money there.
Verb Pattern 8In this pattern the object of the verb is an interrogative pronoun or adverb (except why or whether), followed by a to-infinitive. Interrogative pronounSubject + vt adverb + to-infinitive1. Do you know/see how to do it?2. I couldn’t decide what to do next.3. I’ve discovered where to find him.4. You must learn when to give advice and when to be silent.
Verb Pattern 9The object of the verb is a that-clause. That is often omitted, except after more formal verbs (eg decide, intend).Subject + vt that-clause1. I suppose you’ll be leaving soon.2. I wish you wouldn’t interrupt.3. Do you think it’ll rain?4. The workers decided that they would go on strike.5. We intended that John should be invited.
Verb Pattern 10In this pattern, the object of the verb is a dependent clause. The clause is introduced by a relative adverb or pronoun, what, or whether / if.Subject + vt dependent clause/question1. Does anyone know how it happened?2. Come and see what I’ve done!3. I wonder whether / if he’ll come.4. She asked why I was late.
Verb Pattern 11The verb is followed by a noun or pronoun and a that-clause. noun/ Subject + vt pronoun that-clause1. He warned us that the roads were icy.2. I convinced the policeman that I was innocent.3. We satisfied ourselves that the plan would work.
Verb Pattern 12AThe verb is followed by an indirect object (IO) and a direct object (DO). The indirect object is equivalent to a prepositional object with to. As in [VP13A] Subject + vt IO DO1.Won’t you lend him your car?2.He doesn’t owe me anything.3.He denied/grudged her nothing.
Verb Pattern 12BIn this pattern, the indirect object is equivalent to a prepositional object with for. As in [VP13B] Subject + vt IO DO1. She made herself a new dress.2. Will you do me a favour?3. She cooked her husband some sausages.
Verb Pattern 12CVerbs in this pattern are rarely or never convertible to [VP13]. The labels IO and DO are not used. Subject + vt noun/pronoun noun/pronoun1.Ask him his name.2.I envy you your fine garden.3.He struck the door a heave blow.
Verb Pattern 13AIn this pattern, the verb is followed by a direct object, the preposition to, and the prepositional object. It is convertible to [VP12A]. Subject + vt DO to + noun/pronoun1. She told the news to everyone in the village.2. He sold his old car to one of his neighbours.3. I’ve sent presents to everyone in my family.
Verb Pattern 13BIn this pattern the preposition is for. It is convertible to [VP12B]. Subject + vt DO for + noun/pronoun1. She made a new dress for her daughter.2. Will you do a favour for a friend of mine?3. Can you cash this cheque for me?
Verb Pattern 14In this pattern the verb is followed by a direct object and a preposition and its object. This pattern is not convertible to [VP12], as are [VP13A] and [VP13B], ‘Give something to somebody’ [VP12A] may be converted to ‘Give somebody something’ [VP13A]. ‘Explain something to somebody’ cannot be converted to ‘*Explain somebody something’.
Verb Pattern 14The preposition is linked to the verb and they must be learnt together, e.g. ‘congratulate somebody on something’, ‘compare one thing to/with another’. In [VP15] however the prepositional phrase is variable, e.g. ‘put something on/under the table, in the drawer’.
Verb Pattern 14 Subject + vt DO prep noun1. We congratulated him on his success.2. Compare the copy with the original.3. He compared the heart to a pump.4. I explained my difficulty to him.
Verb Pattern 14Variations are possible. If the DO is long, the prepositional phrase may precede it. Introductory it may be used when there is an infinitive phrase or a clause.
Verb Pattern 14 Subject + vt Prep + noun DO 1. I explained to him the impossibility of granting his request. 2. I must leave it to your own to decide whether you judgment should offer your resignation.Compare: Subject + vt DO prep + noun 1. I explainedthe problem to him. 2. I must leave the decision to you.
Verb Pattern 15AIn [VP15A] the DO is followed by an adverbial phrase of place, duration, distance, etc which is obligatory. ‘I read the book’ [VP6] is a complete sentence, but ‘*I put the book’ is not. Put needs an adjunct. Eg ‘I put the book down/away/on the shelf’ with verbs marked [VP15A] the adverbial is a prepositional phrase, which is variable (unlike [VP14]).
VP 15A (cont)Subject + vt DO adverbial phrase1. Don’t let the child put his head out of the card window2. The secretary showed me to the door/into the reception room3. Please put these papers on that desk/in that file
Verb Pattern 15BIn this pattern adverbial particles are used. When the Do is a personal pronoun, the adverbial particle follows. When the Do is a noun or noun phrase, the adverbial particle may either follow or precede. If the DO is long, the adverbial particle usually precedes. Click here to see examples.
Examples of VP 15BSubject + vt DO adverbial particle1. Take them/your shoes off.2. Don’t throw it/ that old hat away.3. Did you wind it/ the clock up?Subject + vt adverbial particle DO1. Lock up all your valuables.2. She gave away all her old clothes.3. Don’t Forget to switch off the lights in all rooms downstairs
Verb Pattern 16AIn this pattern there is an adverbial adjunct which is an infinitive phrase. This may be introduced by in order to or so as to. [VP16A] is to be distinguished from [VP17A] (with the same word order).Cf: I sent Tom to buy some fruit. [VP16A] I want Tom to buy some fruit. [VP17A]
VP 16A (cont)In [VP16A] the infinitive is one of purpose or intended result. In [VP17] the infinitive is part of the direct object.Subject + vt DO to-infinitive1. He brought his brother to see me.2. He opened the door to let the cat out.3. They left me to do all the dirty work.
Verb Pattern 16BThe DO is followed by a noun introduced by as or like, or a clause introduced by as if or as though. as/like + nounSubject + vt DO as if/though + clause1. I can’t see my self as a pop singer.2. Her parents spoilt her as a child.3. He carries himself as soldier.4. You mustn’t treat your wife as if she were as servant.
Verb Pattern 17In this pattern, the verb is followed by a noun or pronoun and a to-infinitive. The noun/pronoun + to-infinitive is the object of the verb. noun/Subject + vt pronoun (not) + to-infinitive1. He likes his wife to dress colorfully.2. They warned us not to be late.3. Do you want/wish me to stay?
Verb Pattern 18AIn this pattern the verb is used with a noun or pronoun and a bare infinitive. The verbs indicate physical perceptions. These verbs are also used in [VP19]. [VP18] indicates completed activity and [VP19] activity in progress. Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP 18A noun/Subject + vt pronoun infinitive1. Did you see/notice anyone leave the house?2. We felt the house shake.3. I once heard her sing the part of Aida.
Verb Pattern 18BA small number of verbs which do not indicate physical perceptions are used in this pattern. Make and let are examples. Compare force/compel and allow/permit, which are used in [VP17]. Please let me go. [VP18B] Please allow/permit me to go. [VP17]
Examples of VP 18B noun/Subject + vt pronoun infinitive1. What makes us think so?2. Let me go!3. I’ve never known him behave so badly before.
Verb Pattern 18CHave is used in this pattern when it means ‘wish’, ‘experience’, or ‘cause’. noun/Subject + HAVE pronoun infinitive1. What would you have me do?2. Have the visitors shown in, please.3. I had a frightening thing happen to me yesterday.4. We often have our friends visit us on Sundays.
Verb Pattern 19AThe verb is followed by a noun or pronoun and a present participle. The verbs indicate physical perceptions and are those used in [VP18A]. noun/Subject + vt pronoun present participle1. Can you smell something burning?2. She could feel her heart beating wildly.3. Did you notice anyone standing at the gate?4. Didn’t you hear me knocking?
Verb Pattern 19BThis pattern is used for some verbs which do not indicate physical perceptions. noun/Subject + vt pronoun present participle1. I found John working at his desk.2. They left me waiting outside.3. This set me thinking.4. Please start the clock going.5. He soon had them all laughing.
Verb Pattern 19CIn this pattern the noun or pronoun is followed by the –ing form of a verb, and this may be either the present participle or the gerund, depending upon whether it is preceded by a noun or pronoun, or a possessives. For fuller notes, see [VP19C] in Guide to patterns and Usage. Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP 19C noun/pronoun/ -ing formSubject + vt possessive of the verb1. I can’t understand him/his behaving so foolishly.2. Can you image me/my being so stupid?3. Does this justify you/your taking legal action?4. I can’t remember my parents/their ever being unkind to me.5. I admire Tom(’s) him/his standing his ground.
Verb Pattern 20In this pattern the verb is followed by a noun or pronoun, an interrogative adverb (except why) or pronoun, and a to- infinitive. The pattern may be compared to [VP12A]. Tell me your name. [VP12A] Tell me what to call you. [VP20]
Examples of VP20 noun/Subject + vt pronoun interrogative + to-infinitive1. I showed them how to do it.2. Tell him where to put it.3. Ask your teacher how to pronounce the word.
Verb Pattern 21This pattern is similar to [VP20]. An interrogative clause follows the noun or pronoun. noun/Subject + vt pronoun interrogative clause1. Tell me what your name is.2. Ask him where he put it.3. Show me what you have in your pockets.
Verb Pattern 22The DO is followed by an adjective which indicates result or manner.Subject + vt DO adjective1. We painted the ceiling green.2. The sun keeps us warm.3. The mud made walking difficult.
Verb Pattern 23The DO is followed by a noun (the object complement).Subject + vt DO noun1. They made Newton President of Royal Society.2. They named the baby Richard.3. They usually call him Dick.
Verb Pattern 24AThe DO is followed by a past participle.Subject + vt DO past participle1. You must make your views known.2. Have you ever heard this opera sung in Italian?3. We want the work finished by Saturdays.
Verb Pattern 24BHave is used in this pattern to indicate what the subject of the sentence experiences, undergoes, or suffers (as in Nos 1 and 2), or what is held or possessed (as in No 3). Click here to see some examples.
Examples of VP24BSubject + HAVE DO past participle1. King Charles had his head cut off.2. I’ve recently had my appendix removed.3. They have scarcely any money saved for their old age.
Verb Pattern 24CHave and get are used in this pattern meaning ‘cause to be’. GET/Subject + HAVE DO past participle1. Can we have/get the program changed?2. Please have/get these letters translated into English.3. I’ll have/get the matter seen to.
Verb Pattern 25The DO is followed by to be (often omitted) and an adjective or a noun. In spoken English [VP9] (ie with a that-clause) is preferred.Subject + vt DO (to be) + adjective/noun1. Most people considered him (to be) innocent.2. They all felt the plan to be unwise.3. I’ve always found Jonathan friendly/a good friend.4. In Britain we presume a man (to be) innocent until he is proved guilty.
Verb Pattern 25 (cont)For 1, Most people considered that he was innocent [VP9] is more usual. Introductory it is used if, instead of a noun, there is a clause, infinitive phrase, etc.Do you consider long hair for men strange?Do you consider it strange for men to let their hair grow long?
Acknowledgements:Materials adapted by Yang Ying from Oxford Advanced Learner’s English Chinese Dictionary.PowerPoint Slides jointly put together by SELF student helpers: Xuan, Jordan, Yiwei, Dong Hao and Aik Hong in 2008
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