for English Language Learners (ELL) – those learning to speak English as a Second Language (ESL), or English as an Additional Language (EAL)
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Basic Sentence Structure
The following is a simple grammar explanation to help you correctly form sentences in English.
Lesson 8 – Identifying the Parts of a Basic English Sentence
Why is it important to learn Basic Sentence Structure?
One of the most common mistakes that English Language Learners make is not having Subject / Verb Agreement in their speaking and writing.
As a BEGINNER English learner, it is important to be able to identity the subject and the verb in a sentence. This will help you as your English advances to a higher level.
Basic English sentence structure is:
A SUBJECT is someone (s.o.) or something (s.t.) that begins an action.
- The SUBJECT gives us the answer to WHO, WHAT or WHERE the sentence is about.
- e.g., my friend, dogs, or Canada
A VERB is an action or a state of being.
- What does the sentence tell us about the Subject’s actions, or feelings, or existence?
- e.g., My friend rides…, Dogs eat…, or Canada encourages…
An OBJECT is s.o. or s.t. that receives the action.
- e.g., My friend rides A MOTORCYCLE. Dogs eat BONES. Canada ENCOURAGES recycling.
Cris loves cookies.
Subject = Cris
Cris is the one who generates (starts) the activity of the verb. The feeling of love begins with Cris.
Verb = love(s)
LOVE is the action that Cris started.
Object = cookies
Cris’s love is given to cookies!
You may find it helpful to think of the verb as energy that moves from the subject to the object (i.e., Cris’s love starts with her and “travels” to the cookies, where it stops!)
Note: Not all verbs require an object. See Transitive & Intransitive Verbs.