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Sentence Patterns


What are Sentence Patterns?

Sentence patterns can be understood as the way sentences are usually structured. It is important to learn the most common sentence patterns in English, as most of the sentences you will hear, write, and speak will follow these basic patterns.

There are a number of common sentence patterns used to write most sentences in English. The basic sentence patterns presented in this guide to sentence patterns will help you understand the underlying pattern in even the most complex English sentences. Parts of speech are put together to create sentence patterns in English. Quickly, the eight parts of speech are as follows:


Six Sentence Patterns

Sentence Patterns #1 - Noun / Verb

The most basic sentence pattern is a noun followed by a verb. It's important to remember that only verbs that do not require objects are used in this sentence pattern.


People work.
Frank eats.

This basic sentence pattern can be modified by adding a noun phrase, possessive adjective, as well as other elements. This is true for all the sentence patterns that follow.


People work. -> Our employees work.
Frank eats. -> My dog Frank eats.

Sentence Patterns #2 - Noun / Verb / Noun

The next sentence pattern builds on the first pattern and is used with nouns that can take objects.


John plays softball.
The boys are watching TV.

Sentence Patterns #3 - Noun / Verb / Adverb

The next sentence pattern builds on the first pattern by using an adverb to describe how an action is done.


Thomas drives quickly.
Anna doesn't sleep deeply.

Sentence Patterns #4 - Noun / Linking Verb / Noun

This sentence pattern uses linking verbs to link one noun to another. Linking verbs are also known as equating verbs - verbs which equate one thing with another such as 'be', 'become', 'seem', etc.


Jack is a student.
This seed will become an apple.

Sentence Patterns #5 - Noun / Linking Verb / Adjective

This sentence pattern is similar to sentence pattern #4, but uses linking verbs to link one noun to its description using an adjective.


My computer is slow!
Her parents seem unhappy.

Sentence Patterns #6 - Noun / Verb / Noun / Noun

Sentence pattern #6 is used with verbs that take both direct and indirect objects.


I bought Katherine a gift.
Jennifer showed Peter her car.

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