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English Sentence Structure - Learn about English grammar and sentence construction.

English Sentence Structure: A Comprehensive Guide For English Learners

Sentence structure is like a puzzle. Each piece, or part, fits together to create a complete picture. If you want to make sentences that are more advanced and interesting, you first need to understand how sentence structure works.

What Is Sentence Structure?

Sentence structure is the order of all the parts in a sentence. These parts include the subject, predicate, objects, phrases, punctuation, and more. It also deals with independent and dependent clauses and how they combine, the placement of words and phrases next to what they modify, and the use of proper grammar.

Basic Parts of a Sentence

Every sentence requires at least two key components: a verb and a subject. The verb represents an action, while the subject is the one performing that action.

4 Sentence Structure Grammar Rules

In addition to understanding sentence parts, you must follow certain grammar rules. Here are four important ones:

  1. Capitalize the first letter of the first word in a sentence.

  2. End a sentence with a period, question mark, exclamation point, or quotation marks.

  3. Typically, the subject comes first, followed by the verb, and then the objects (Subject -> Verb -> Object).

  4. Ensure subject-verb agreement: If the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must be plural.

Word Order

  1. Subject -> Verb (S-V):

    • She sings.

    • They laugh.

    • He sleeps.

  2. Subject -> Verb -> Object (S-V-O):

    • She eats apples.

    • They built a house.

    • He reads books.

  3. Subject -> Verb -> Adjective (S-V-Adj):

    • She is happy.

    • They appear tired.

    • He feels cold.

  4. Subject -> Verb -> Adverb (S-V-Adv):

    • She runs quickly.

    • They speak loudly.

    • He works diligently.

Types of Clauses

To create more interesting sentences, we use various sentence structures. Before exploring these structures, it's crucial to understand clauses. A clause is a group of words containing a subject and a verb. Some clauses are independent, while others are dependent and require support.

  • Independent clauses are complete sentences on their own.

    • "We'll eat dinner at five."

    • "Faria and Bertuccio assisted the Count of Monte Cristo."

  • Dependent clauses, or subordinate clauses, support independent clauses by adding essential information.

    • "The roads are icy because it rained last night."

These clauses contain subordinating conjunctions, such as "because," "since," "although," and more, to connect them to independent clauses.

4 Types of Sentence Structure: 

  1. Simple Sentences: These consist of a single independent clause, including subjects, verbs, and possibly objects.

    • "Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale."

    • "Real glory springs from the silent conquest of ourselves."

  2. Compound Sentences: Compound sentences combine two or more independent clauses, either with a comma and a coordinating conjunction (e.g., "for," "and," "nor," "but," "or," "yet," "so") or with a semicolon.

    • "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

    • "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."

    • "We know they are lying, they know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, but they are still lying."

  3. Complex Sentences: Complex sentences feature one main independent clause alongside one or more subordinate clauses, connected by subordinating conjunctions.

    • "Until the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter."

    • "When a person can't find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure."

    • "It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light."

  4. Compound-Complex Sentences: These combine compound and complex sentences, involving at least two independent clauses and one or more subordinate clauses, following specific grammar rules.

    • "If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it, or else you're going to be locked up."

    • "Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally."


Sentence structure might seem complex, especially when dealing with clauses and conjunctions. To help you improve your sentence structure, Grammarly offers suggestions for clarity, not only correcting grammar mistakes but also enhancing your communication. With Grammarly, you can ensure that your sentences are well-structured, clear, and engaging.

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