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How to structure a sentence in English

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Sentences and statements

A group of words that makes sense is a sentence. You can understand it, even if you are reading the words out of their context.

A sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark.

There are five main types of sentences.

1. A statement gives information or your opinion.

I trust her.

I think trust is important.

2. A question asks for information or an opinion.

Do you trust her?

3. An instruction tells how to do or use something.

Let the tea cool, then drink it.

4. A command tells or orders someone to do or use something.

Go at once!

5. An exclamation is a short sentence, word or sound that shows emotion.


Word order in statements

The most common type of sentence is a statement.

Statements usually contain a subject and a verb.



A statement usually also has a direct object (person/s or thing/s affected by the verb).

Shescreamed at  her friend.

SubjectVerbdirect Object

Remember: SVO

When you are learning English it is safe to use this simple word order, even when you add articles (a, the, an), adjectives (angry), adverbs (shrilly) and prepositions (at).

Note that the verb will also carry the tense, e.g. “had/will come”.

The angry girl had screamed loudly at her shocked friend.

SubjectVerbdirect Object

You can also add an indirect object, after the direct object.

The angry girlgaveher frienda fright.

SubjectVerbdirect Objectindirect Object

Let's practice using word order in sentences!

1. Put these mixed-up words into sentences using subject, verb and object word order.

They are about friends enjoying a weekend together.

Remember to add capitals and full stops!

Ask yourself: Who (Subject) did what (Verb) to or how to whom/what (Object)?

a) ran to meet Debbie her friend Shani

b) come by Shani had train

c) a fantastic weekend together had planned they

d) both girls all their pocket money had saved

e) went they to a movie and uShaka Marine World

f) take-away chicken bought Shani and Debbie

g) her friend Debbie loved again seeing

h) penguins laughed they at the funny

i) Shani in the sad movie cried

j) go home Debbie was to see her again so sad

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