Explanation of Similar Sentence Patterns

Nearly every sentence written in English will fall into ten similar patterns, each determine by the existence (or non existence) and functions (or non functions) or nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

Sentence patterns can be most easily categorized based on the type of verb that was used.

Verb of being” sentence patterns will use the form of “to be” as the primary verb in the sentence.

Is, are, was, were, had been, has been, have been

“Linking verb” sentence patterns will use a linking verb of some sort as the primary verb in the sentence. This linking verb will be proceeded by either a noun or an adjective active as a subjective complement.

Smell, look, taste, feel, become, seem, grow, appear

“Action verb” sentence patterns will use one of several action verbs as the primary verb in the sentence. This action very will either be transitive or intransitive.

Jump, see, write, embrace, buy, imagine, etc.

As we delve further into the identification of sentence patterns, the following terms will be used.

NP = noun phrase  (this abbreviation is used to reference a noun and it’s modifier that is functioning as subject, direct or indirect object, subjective or objective compliment.

NP 1, NP2, NP3  and so on = the designations for the various noun phrases and their functions

V-be = Verb of being

LV = Linking verb

Vit = Intransitive verb

Vtr = Transitive verb

ADV/TP = Adverbial place or time

ADJ = Adjective

Understanding the Ten Different Sentence Patterns

  1. NP1 + V-be + ADV/TP

In this pattern, the verb of being is proceeded by an adverb that indicates either where or when.
Example: My cousins (NP1 subject) are (V-be) here. (ADV/TP)

  1. NP1 + V-be + ADJ

In this pattern, the verb of being is proceeded by an adjective that acts as the subjective complement.
Example:  Her flowing raven hair (NP1 subject) was (V-be) rather beautiful. (ADJ)

  1. NP1 + V-be + NP1

In this pattern, the verb of being is proceeded by a noun acting as the subjective complement.
Example: Mrs. Smith (NP1 subject) has been (V-be) a dancer (NP1 subjective complement) for twenty years.

  1. NP1 + LV + ADJ

In this pattern, the linking verb is proceeded by an adjective acting as a subjective complement.
Example: The muffins (NP1 subject) on the counter look (LV) tasty. (ADJ subjective complement)

  1. NP1 + LV + NP1

In this pattern, the linking verb is proceeded by a noun that acts as a subjective complement.
Example: At a very old age, Ken (NP1 subject) became (LV) a Vegan (NP1 subjective complement)

  1. NP1 + Vint

In this pattern, the action verb has no direct object.
Example: In a few days my sister (NP1 subject) will arrive. (Vint)

  1. NP2 + Vtr + NP2

In this pattern, the action verb is proceeded by a direct object.
Example: The hunter (NP1 subject) shot (Vtr)  the bullet (NP2 direct object) into the air.

  1. NP2 + Vtr + NP2 + NP3

In this pattern, the action verb is proceeded by an indirect object and then by a direct object.
Example: Johnson (NP1 subject) gave (Vtr) the staff (NP2 indirect object) a bonus. (NP3 direct object)

  1. NP1 + Vtr + NP2 + ADJ

In this pattern, the action verb is proceeded by a direct object. The direct object is then proceeded by an adjective acting as an objective complement.
Example: The jurors (NP1 subject) found the defendant (NP2 direct object) not guilty. (ADJ objective component)

  1. NP1 + Vtr + NP2 + NP2

In this pattern, the action verb is proceeded by a direct object. The direct object is then proceeded by a noun acting as an objective complement.
Example: Most students (NP1 subject)  find Mr. Smith (NP2 direct object)  to be a great teacher. (NP2 objective complement)

Where You Can Encounter Similar Sentence Patterns?

The most basic of all sentence patterns will fall into the category of subject + verb. Meaning, they are composed of a subject and a verb, but lack a direct object or any kind of subject complement. These types of sentences use an intransitive verb, or a verb that does not require a direct object.

Examples of subject + verb sentences are:

  • The development of lead-based paint stopped in the 1970s.
  • The yolk remained inside the egg.
  • The mirror eventually broke.

Another fairly easy sentence pattern is the subject + linking verb + subject compliment. This pattern makes use of a linking verb and any type of to be verb, but does not have an action verb.

Examples of subject + linking verb + subject complement sentences are:

  • The debate over equal wages has often been positive
  • The sun seems to be the brightest during the early afternoon

Next in the list of common sentence patterns is the subject + verb + direct object pattern. This type of pattern focuses on the direct object.

Examples of subject + verb + direct object sentences are:

  • Wind conducts energy in a peculiar way.

Subject + verb + indirect object + direct object is a little more complex of a sentence pattern.

Here is an example:

  • The manager emailed the new hire a job description.

Parts of Speech

Pronouns

A pronoun holds the place of a noun. There are many types of pronouns: personal pronouns, demonstrative and indefinite pronouns, relative and interrogative pronouns, etc.

Personal pronouns consist of nominative case, objective case, and possessive case.

Nominative case pronouns are those that are used with subjects or subjective complements.

For example:

  • I
  • We
  • You
  • She, he, it
  • They

Objective pronouns are used with direct or indirect objects and objects of prepositions.

Examples:

  • Me
  • Us
  • You
  • Him, her, it
  • Them

Possessive case pronouns indicate possession.

Examples:

  • Mine, my
  • Yours
  • His, hers
  • Ours
  • Theirs
  • Its

Demonstrative pronouns and also indefinite pronouns take the place of things being pointed out.

Example:

  • This, theirs
  • Those, that
  • Each, either
  • Any, neither
  • Anybody, somebody

Relative and interrogative pronouns connect independent and dependant clauses. More specifically, they link adjective or noun clauses to simple sentences.

Example:

  • Who
  • Whom
  • Whose
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • Which
  • That
  • Whether

Verbs

Typically, verbs will fall into four categories: active verbs, linking verbs, auxiliary verbs and modals.

Active verbs are used to express some sort of action.

Linking verbs are any type of the verb to be void of an action verb. Linking verbs can be longer than a single word.

Examples:

  • Had been
  • Was being
  • Had to have been
  • Would have been
  • Might have been
  • Will have been

Auxiliary verbs exist to help the main part of the verb, whereas modals change the intended meaning of a verb in several ways.

Verbs are used in any number of complex tenses. Continuous tenses are those that end in -ing and perfect tenses are those that make use of the auxiliary verb have in some form.

Simple PresentWorks
Present ContinuousIs working
Present PerfectHas Worked
Simple PastWorked
Past ContinuousWas Working
Past PerfectHas worked
Simple FutureWill work
Future ContinuousWill be working
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