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15/3/2017 EnglishGrammarExplanationsWordorder

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Wordorder
MostEnglishsentences(clauses)conformtotheSVO
wordorder.ThismeansthattheSubjectcomesbefore
theVerb,whichcomesbeforetheObject.Examples:

I(S)bought(V)anewcomputer(O).
She(S)doesn'tlike(V)dogs(O).
Whydidyou(S)do(V)that(O)?

Itismorecomplicatedwhenanindirectobject(I)is
addedtothesentence.Inthiscasethewordorder
dependsa.)onwhetherthedirectandindirectobjects
arenounsorpronouns,andb.)onwhethertheindirect
objectisprecededbythewordto.Herearethebasic
rules:

SVOI Ishowedthe
computertomy
Indirectobjectwith friends.
to: Ishowedittothem.
Twonouns Ishowedittomy
Twopronouns friends.
Pronoun Shegavethepresent
object/nounindirect tohermother.
object Shegaveittoher.
Shegaveittoher
mother.

Ishowedmyfriends
thecomputer.
Indirectobject
Ishowedthemit.
withoutto:
Ishowedthemthe
Twonouns
computer
Twopronouns SVI0
Shegavehermother
Noun
thepresent.
object/pronoun
Shegaveherit.
indirectobject
Shegaveherthe
present.

ManyEnglishsentencesalsocontainadverbials.The
problemfortheEnglishlearneristhatsome
adverbialscanbelocatedindifferentplaceswithinthe
sentence,whileotheradverbialsmustappearinone
placeonly.Forexample,itiscorrecttosayboth:I
veryquicklydidmyhomework..andIdidmy
homeworkveryquickly..,butonlyIdidmyhomework

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15/3/2017 EnglishGrammarExplanationsWordorder

inahurry..ispossible.Iinahurrydidmyhomework
..iswrong.

LearnerswhowanttogettheirEnglishwordorder
rightshouldaskanativespeaker.Alternatively,they
canconsultagoodusageguidesuchasSwan's
ModernEnglishUsageor'google'the
sentence/clause.*

*Forexample,thelearnermightnotknowwhichof
thefollowingsentencescontainsthemorenormal
wordorder:"a.Iwanttogetthisright.."or"b.Iwant
togetrightthis..".Ifheorsheentersthewordsinto
Google,theresultsare:sentencea731hitssentence
b0hits.Thecorrectchoiceisclear!

Doaquizonwordorder:quiz1quiz2.

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CopyrightPaulShoebottom19962017
http://esl.fis.edu

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