Word order

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Word order

  1. 1. Word orderWord order can be reduced to a few basic rules or principles
  2. 2. 1- In a normal (declarative) sentence, the subject of a sentence comes directly in front of the verb. The direct object (when there is one) comes directly after it: Examples: Subject Verb Object I Speak English The man wrote a letter
  3. 3. 2- Note that by the subject, we mean not just a single word, but the subject noun or pronoun plus descriptive phrases that go with it. The rest of the sentence –i.e. the part that is not the subject – is called the predicate. Example:  People who live in glasshouses shouldnt throw stones.
  4. 4. 3- If a sentence has any other parts (indirect objects, adverbs or adverb phrases) these usually come in the following places:3.1 The position of the indirect object:  The indirect object follows the direct object when it is formed with the preposition (to). Example:  The doctor gave some medicine to the child.  The indirect object comes in front of the direct object if (to) is omitted. Example:  The doctor gave the child some medicine.
  5. 5. 3.2 Adverbs or adverb phrases can come in three possible places: Before the subject (notably with common adverbs or adverb phrases). Example:  Yesterday the man wrote a letter.  After the object (virtually any adverb or adverb phrases can be placed here). Example:  The man wrote a letter on his computer in the train.  In the middle of the verb group (notably with short common adverbs). Example:  The man has already written his letter.
  6. 6. 4- In standard English, nothing usually comes between the subject and the verb, or between the verb and the object. There are a few exceptions. The most important of these are adverbs of frequency and indirect objects without (to). Examples:  The man often wrote his mother a letter.  I sometimes give my dog a bone.  He always plays tennis.
  7. 7. 5- Note that the examples above are deliberately simple – but the rules can be applied even to complex sentences, with subordinate and coordinated clauses. Example:  The director, {who often told his staff (to work harder),} never left the office before {he had checked his e-mail}.
  8. 8. 6- In questions, the word order subject- verb- object) is the same as in affirmative sentences. The only thing thats different is that you usually have to put the auxiliary verb (or the main verb "be") before the subject. Also interrogatives are put at the beginning of the sentences.  Example:Interrogative Auxiliary Subject Other verbs Object verb How do you Do - ? If you apply these few simple rules, you will not make too many word order problems in English.

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