Language Lab

5 tips to make constructing English sentences easy

English grammar can often seem strange. We have so many rules for making sentences and almost as many exceptions to those rules. On a basic level, though, most English sentences follow a similar structure. Follow these five tips to make constructing English sentences easy.

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  1. Get the words in the right order. The most common order for parts of a sentence is: subject, verb, object (if present).

Steve kicked the ball.

In this sentence, the subject is ‘Steve’, the verb is ‘kicked’ and the object is ‘the ball’. To help you remember this structure, try making an example with someone you know well as the subject and something they do often for the verb and object.

  1. Parts of speech aren’t always just one word. A subject, verb, or object is sometimes made up of several words so make sure you look at the structure of a whole sentence rather than just individual words if you want to get it right.

People who practice a lot get higher scores.

In this sentence, the subject is ‘people who practice a lot’. We can call a subject made of several words a ‘subject phrase’ or ‘predicate’.

  1. There are two types of object. Sometimes you will see sentences with two objects. If that’s the case, we split them into two types:

direct – the object with which the subject has a direct connection.

indirect – the object with a weaker connection to the subject.

I bought some flowers for my mother.

In this sentence, ‘flowers’ is a direct object and ‘my mother’ is an indirect object. The indirect has a preposition before it if we want to use it at the end of the sentence.

I bought my mother some flowers.

In this sentence the direct and indirect objects are in a different order. When the direct comes last, we don’t need to use a preposition.

  1. Compound sentences follow the same structure but do it twice. A compound sentence is one made of two clauses (sections). In this case, the sentence uses a conjunction to join two halves of the sentence, each of which has the same structure.

I cooked dinner and my father bought some drinks.

subject verb object + subject verb object

  1. Learn the exceptions to the rules. There are some sentence structures, for example, the passive voice, that work slightly differently. Once you are comfortable with declarative sentences, take some time to explore other sentence structures as they will give you language more variety and are a fun challenge to learn.

 

So, now you have some tips on how to make English sentences easily, have a go yourself in the comments section below. If you know any exceptions to the rules, share them with the other readers.

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Wil is a writer, teacher, learning technologist and keen language learner. He’s taught English in classrooms and online for nearly 10 years, trained teachers in using classroom and web technology, and written e-learning materials for several major websites. He speaks four languages and is currently looking for another one to start learning.

Wil

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