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English is understood by word order!

Word order is explained by our phrases, clauses, and sentences.

The word order of phrases is never varied. 

The word order of clauses is equally strict, but some kinds of clauses are formed through transformational grammar.       

phrase structure

kind of phrase

must contain

may contain

the order

examples

noun

a noun

a determiner

an adjective phrase

determiner

adjective phrase

noun

lexical

with determiner

with adjective phrase

Boys are strong.

The boy is strong.

The tall boy is strong.

Tall boys are strong.

adjective

an adjective.  

an intensifier

intensifier

adjective

no intensifier

with intensifier

tall

very tall

finite verb

an auxiliary verb

a main verb. 

 

auxiliary verb

main verb

one auxiliary + main verb

two auxiliaries + main verb

three auxiliaries + main verb

do/does/did + basic form

have/has/had + perfect-passive participle

am/is/are/was/were + present continuous participle

modal (shall, will, can, could, may, might, should, must, would + basic form

am/is/are/was/were + being + perfect passive participle

have/has/had + been + present continuous participle

modal + be + present continuous participle

modal + have +been+ present continuous participle

prepositional

a preposition

a noun phrase

 

preposition

noun phrase

under the table

in an hour

after the class

adverb

an adverb   

an intensifier

intensifier

adverb

no intensifier

with intensifier

slowly

extremely slowly

 

clause structure

SUBJECT 

PREDICATE

EXAMPLES

SUBJECT

(ADVERBIAL)

VERB

OBJECT

(ADVERBIAL)

John reads three newspapers.

John usually reads three newspapers.

John reads three newspapers everyday.

John sometimes reads three newspapers on Sunday.

SUBJECT

(adverbial)

VERB

COMPLEMENT

(ADVERBIAL)

Rose is a beautiful woman.

Sally often feels tired in the morning.

Sally often feels tired when she gets up in the morning..

SUBJECT

(adverbial)

VERB

(ADVERBIAL)

 

Dave walked to the corner.

Dave slowly walked to the corner.

Dave walked slowly to the corner as he spoke on his cell phone.

SUBJECT

Particle VERB

(ADVERBIAL)

particle verb

OBJECT

John thought about the problem.

John thought quickly about the problem.

 

transformational grammar

ADVERBIAL

SUBJECT

VERB

Before eating, I wash my hands.

In the morning, Margaret always exercises.

After I shower, I feel great!

auxiliary verb

subject

verb

Do you like to swim?

Have they eaten dinner yet?

Are you planning to shop today?

Will Javier take the exam in May.  

cleft sentences

(dummy subjectS)

verb

subject

There is a hummingbird in our garden.

There are gray clouds in the sky.

It is raining.

It's a mess.

 Information questions

verb

subject

What do you need?

When are we leaving?

Who are they?

Where are we going?

Why does John work so hard?  ..

yes / no questions

verb

subject

Does John need money?

Do I look tired?

Did you enjoy the party?

Do we need to make a reservation for dinner at the restaurant?

Were you at home yesterday?