Order of words in a sentence

The general order of words in a sentence is subject + predicate.

  • The boys caught a monkey. (Subject – the boys; predicate – caught a monkey)
  • The earth revolves around the sun.

The following points must be remembered while arranging words in a sentence.

The subject goes before the verb.

  • The birds sang.
  • The wind howled.
  • Fire burned.

The object usually goes after the verb.

  • I bought a pen.
  • She sang a song.
  • The cow eats grass.
  • The boy killed the snake.

When there is an indirect object, it usually goes before the direct object.

  • I sent him a letter.
  • They gave him food.

The subject complement goes after the verb.

  • She was anxious.
  • She seemed upset.
  • The players are tired.
  • The crowd became violent.

The adjective usually goes before the noun it modifies.

  • She has a blue car.
  • I have a small apartment.

Sometimes the adjective is used predicatively and then it goes after the verb. Note that in this case, the adjective modifies the subject. It is not followed by another noun.

  • The man is dead.
  • The baby is asleep.

An adjective phrase goes directly after the noun it modifies.

  • Lincoln was a man of great talent.

An adverb is placed close to the word it modifies.

  • She always comes late.
  • They have sent only one book so far.