Wednesday 15 September 2010

Grammar: Grammar 101 -- SVOAC

I have this question about grammar from one of my students asking me what forms a correct sentence.

Now, you might think this is simple but in fact, it is something that even some teachers are confused about.

I will now give a very basic grammatical structure of a sentence for those of you who might also have this question in mind. However, examples will be at the simplest level and it will not cover all the sentence structures.

Are you ready?

Okay. First of all, you have to know what is 'subject', 'verb' and 'object', we call them S-V-O.

eg. I agree.
Subject is 'I', verb is 'agree', object doesn't exist in this sentence.

eg. I have a pen.
S is 'I', V is 'have', O is 'a pen'.

eg. I like lobsters.
Subject is 'I', verb is 'like', object is 'lobsters', pay attention that 'lobsters' is considered as one object only.

So basically, English is a S-V-O language. But there's more! And that is, 'adverbial' and 'complement', A-C.

Adverbial generally tells us more about a sentence or a verb, and complement has a wide definition, generally it is a word or a group of words which is/are necessary to complete the meaning.

And the basic order should be, S-V-O-A-C (with exceptions, of course).

eg. I enjoyed this party very much.
S is 'I', V is 'enjoyed', O is 'this party', A is 'very much', C doesn't exist in this sentence.

And the next example is one of my favourites, from the movie Tropic Thunder,

eg. "You m-m-m-mmm-m-make me hap~py!"
(okay, should be 'you make me happy')

S is 'You', V is 'make', O is 'me',  A doesn't exist in this sentence, C is 'happy'.

Last example is this,

eg. I was washing my dishes in the kitchen at 6pm last night.
S is 'I', V is 'was washing', O is 'my dishes', 1st A is 'in the kitchen', 2nd A is 'last night'.