Grammar Basics: Sentence Structure (3)

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The structure Subject-Verb-Object-Object, or SVOO is similar to the basic SVO. It occurs in a sentence like William gave his sister the key. In some contexts, William gave the key on its own, on the SVO pattern, might make sense, but in most cases it isn’t enough, and nor is William gave his sister. We want to know both what it was that William gave and who he gave it to. William’s sister is on the receiving end of gave, but not in the same way as the key is. We mark the difference by saying that the key is the direct object and his sister the indirect object. In that way we can justify the description SVOO.

In the same way that we can add another Object to the SVO structure and get an SVOO structure, we can add a Complement, and get a Subject-Verb-Object-Complement structure, or SVOC. An example would be William thought his sister stupid. Although this sentence has a Subject in William, a Verb in thought and an Object in his sister, it cannot stand on its own as *William thought his sister . It needs something to complete it, in other words it needs a Complement, which in this sentence is supplied by stupid.

The last of the seven structures is Subject-Verb-Object-Adverbial or SVOA. We have already seen all of these terms used to describe one or other of the preceding structures, so all that is new is the way in which these four components can be put together. They occur in the sentence William drove his car to the beach, in which William is the Subject, drove the verb, his car the Object and to the beach the Adverbial.

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4 responses to “Grammar Basics: Sentence Structure (3)

  1. Pingback: Grammar Basics: Sentence Structure (2) | Caxton

  2. How do you come up with your sample sentences? I used to have a stable of examples that I used when teaching, but there would always be some real-world text that wouldn’t follow the rule (though was still correct).

    I guess another way of phrasing this is: are there more ideal sample sentences that are most often correct?


  3. Pingback: Grammar Basics: Active and Passive | Caxton

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