Ways & How

how to learn sentence structure

how to learn sentence structure

If you’re having trouble in constructing an effective and grammatically correct sentence, this article will teach you how to learn sentence structure in the easiest way. English grammar and sentence construction can be learned not only in school but also at home by going through the rules we will discuss below. While there are some who write correct sentences spontaneously, there are also some people who hate draining their brains in figuring out how to go about writing their sentences. Despite the fact there are grammar software and spelling software that can be used in correcting sentences automatically, it is still an edge that you know the basic rules of English grammar and sentence structure. In the event that you will be subjected to any actual writing assignment, at least you are already equipped to do the job with the utmost confidence. Generally, the things you need to study to be able to construct a simple and a good sentence include the subject-verb agreement rule, grammar tenses, types of clauses, and the different kinds of sentences. Let us use short and simple sentences to serve as our examples:

  1. Study the Subject-Verb Agreement.

    A verb is an action word which conveys a particular action like read, sing, learn, or run. It may also refer to a given state of condition like exist, be, or stand. When asked for the verb, the answer actually is the subject itself. A subject refers to a person, thing, place, or idea. The way to easily spot the subject is to spot the verb in a sentence.

    For example, in a sentence which says, “The computers inside the room must be repaired,” the verb is “must be repaired.” Then ask yourself, what must be repaired? The answer is the computers. Hence, the subject refers to computers.

    A simple subject refers to a subject stripped of a modifier or modifiers. In a sentence which says, “The very significant topic of the meeting, other than global warming, is the awareness of the people.” The simple subject is the topic.

  2. Master the basic principle that singular subjects require singular verbs and plural subjects require plural verbs. Observe how this rule is applied in the following two sentences. “My sister is a doctor.” “My brothers are military officers.”

  3. Know what is a noun and a proper noun. A noun refers to the name of a place, idea, person, or anything that exists. A proper noun names or identifies a particular place, person, or thing like Jerusalem, Antoinette, or God.

    Remember that the singular form of the noun talks about just one place, thing, or person like “God is merciful.” The plural form talks about more than one place, thing, or person like “The girls are dancing.”

  4. Remember that when indefinite pronouns are always in singular form, they need a singular verb. See how we will use a few of the indefinite pronouns like: no one, nobody, someone, everyone, or anyone. “Everyone has accomplished her or his job.” “Someone has left her wallet.”

    Also, the use of each should not confuse you. It is singular thus it needs a singular verb. In a sentence like “Each of the voters has not eaten yet,” do not let the word “voters” affect the verb. Ask yourself, who has not eaten yet? Each has not eaten yet.

  5. Study the rules on grammar tenses. The basic tenses are past, present, and future tense, although there are still more than that. We can learn these by taking a specific sentence example and see how it will change as we change the tense.

    In a sentence like, “I played basketball yesterday,” that’s past tense because you are saying that the game happened yesterday. “I am playing basketball now,” that’s present tense because you are saying that the game is happening at that moment. “I will play basketball on Saturday,” that’s future tense because you are saying that the game will happen later.

  6. Know the kinds of clauses. First is an independent or main clause which can stand by itself like a simple sentence such as “I love dogs” or “I was born on May 9, 1982.” It contains a subject and a predicate. It expresses a complete thought.

    Try joining different independent clauses by using common conjunctions such as and, nor, for, but, yet, or, so. What you can produce is actually a compound sentence composed of two or more independent clauses. For example, “I am a nurse and my sister is a doctor.” Your clauses are “I am a nurse” and “My sister is a doctor” which are simple sentences, actually.

    Second is a relative clause which in nature is more of a subordinate clause that modifies a noun or noun phrase. In a sentence, “The girl who wasn't around” has the noun girl and the modifier relative clause who wasn’t around.

    Third is a dependent clause which augments an independent clause by giving other information which is not to be considered as an independent sentence. It has a subject and a predicate, but it does not express a complete thought. “The girl was eating while she was crying.” The independent clause is “The girl was eating” and the dependent clause is “while she was crying” which cannot stand completely as a sentence. 

  7. Learn the types of sentences based on structure. The first structure is the simple sentence that has a complete thought usually with just one subject and verb connection. For example, “She goes to school” or “He plays football.”

    The second structure is a compound sentence that has more than one independent clause joined together using conjunctions. For example, “The driver lost his map, but he still reached the port.” The two independent clauses are “The driver lost his map” and “he still reached the port” connected by the conjunction but.

    The third structure is a complex sentence that has an independent clause and a dependent clause joined together. For example, “Anna left her door half open because she lost her key.” The independent clause is “Anna left her door half open,” and the dependent clause is “because she lost her key.” Notice that we are actually applying some of the rules above which we have learned earlier.

    The fourth structure is a complex-compound sentence that has more than one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. This kind of sentence structure is a little bit harder to learn, but let us still try this example. “Even though the ice cream is very mouth-watering to me, I have not had enough money lately, so I can’t walk to the nearby store to purchase one.”

    Let us identify the clauses involved. The dependent clause is “Even though the ice cream is very mouth-watering to me.” The two independent clauses are “I have not had enough money lately” and “I can’t walk to the nearby store to purchase one.”

  8. Learn the types of sentences based on their functions. The first is a declarative sentence whose function is to declare or to state an idea, and it normally uses a period (.) at the end. For example, “The problem with the beach is that it has no sufficient tables and chairs.”

    Second is an exclamatory sentence which manifests emotion, and it normally uses an exclamation mark (!) at the end. For example, “That’s a piece of junk!” or “The car is damaged!”

    Third is an interrogative sentence which asks a question for clarification, and it normally uses a question mark (?) at the end. For instance, “Where is mom?” or “What have you done?”

    Fourth is an imperative sentence which lacks a subject, but it is still regarded as a sentence. For example, “Help!” or “Wipe this.”

After discussing the most basic principles on how to learn sentence structure, it cannot be expected that you will understand everything right away.  Just go on constructing your own sentences and use what we have talked about. What is important is you can clearly convey your idea to an average reader.


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