The following lesson is an adapted extract from the book, Advanced Writing Skills for Students of English. I’ve decided to share it here as I’ve had a few questions relating to punctuation and sentence structure lately, and this gives a useful introduction to how commas help signal longer sentences. Commas are typically used to separate clauses in complex sentences, when we have a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses:
- The passengers waited outside, while the steward refused to open the door.
The updated version of Word Order in English Sentences is now available in eBook and, for the first time, print form. Through extensive editing, and feedback from my readers, this new edition is over twice the size of the original – and looks a lot nicer!
The 1st Edition of the book was a brief introduction to sentence structure that covered the basics of some sentence components. I’ve built on it covering many more of the building blocks of a sentence – making the 2nd edition a more comprehensive guide to understanding how words fit together in English. It remains an introduction, but a much more solid one.
The full contents of the guide now cover:
- Basic sentence structure (subject-verb-object and beyond)
- Question forms
- Negative forms
- Verb phrases (now including phrasal verbs, transitives and intransitives, and combinations of verbs)
- Noun phrases (now including compound nouns, noun complements and embedded questions as noun phrases)
- Adjectives (now including adjectives in unusual positions)
- Sentences with multiple clauses (including simple, complex and compound sentences)
The book also includes 16 exercises to test knowledge through re-ordering scrambled sentences. The book will give you a solid basis for understanding how an English sentence fits together, and how one word relates to another – which is the first step towards understanding how sentences can then bend the rules.
Regular readers of this blog may recognise many of the lessons contained in the book – now you can own the material in one easy to use reference guide. The book is available in various electronic forms, including in PDF from the shop here. Meanwhile the print form is designed in a style that matches The English Tenses Practical Grammar Guide (so they’ll look good on a shelf together!).
How can we define the rules for placing a preposition in a sentence? Before a noun? After a verb? One of the additions to the second edition of Word Order in English Sentences is a guide to prepositions. Though they are often connected to other parts of a sentence, such as noun phrases, and often have specific or flexible rules, like adverbs, prepositions have some general rules that can help with understanding how they fit into a sentence, explained in detail below. Continue reading
Members of my mailing list will already be aware that I have been working on a long-overdue update to Word Order in English Sentences – and with the help of my readers it is now almost ready for publication. This February I will be releasing the 2nd Edition of Word Order in English Sentences with greatly expanded content and a much more professional edit.
The 1st Edition of the book was a short eBook I originally produced as a piece of bonus material for my subscribers. It proved popular enough to keep selling, but as an early piece of work, I was never happy with the standard of the book, or the level of detail it covered. The basic original guide has therefore been given an overhaul, with the new version expanded from 47 pages to over 100 – and it will now also be available, for the first time, in print form!
The new contents include:
- Expanded verb phrases structures, including introductions to tenses, transitive and intransitive verbs, and connecting verbs to locations, other verbs and clauses
- Expanded noun phrase structures, including a detailed look at compound nouns, noun complements and embedded questions as noun objects
- Expanded adjective rules, including adjectives after nouns and verbs
- New chapter on Prepositions, discussing where they come in questions, passive structures, relative clauses and in relation to infinitives
- New chapter on sentences with multiple clauses, including simple, complex and compound sentences
- New chapter on flexible word order and sentence structure, introducing ideas for creating different forms from the same sentence
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with some of the new content added to the book. It is a massive improvement on the original – so look out for it in February (and be sure to join the mailing list to be the first to hear of its release!). If you would like to review the book for your website, or on Amazon, or would like to recommend review sites to me, do let me know.
Here are 2 new exercises to help practice some of the lessons given in my article on the various methods that can be used to rewrite English sentences. These exercises involve rewriting given sentences based on a specific component or rule – and it combines a large number of different methods. I have written these as a part of the upcoming, expanded version of Word Order in English Sentences, to help further develop understanding of sentence structure. There are many ways to do this, with suggested answers at the bottom of the page. Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions! Continue reading
Taken from my guide to sentence structure and word order, Word Order in English Sentences, here is a brief introduction to basic sentence structure in English.
Sentences in English stick to a standard general order, that is simply explained as:
(1) Subject (2) Verb (3) Object
These general groups of words can be a single word each, or entire phrases. This is especially true for the object part of the sentence structure, which can represent any complement to the verb, or additional information. Continue reading
“If you are a non-native speaker intending to write in English, YOU NEED THIS BOOK!” – Amelie Chaloux , Amazon review
Word Order in English Sentences teaches effective sentence structure in English. It explains how and why English word types fit into specific orders. It is available from this site in electronic form, or in print form on Amazon.
Effective Word Order Rules
“The greatest thing about this guide is that it doesn’t simply tell you what to do, it also explains why, so that you understand the subtle (or not so subtle) change in meaning of the sentence.” – Polina Zemsteva, Amazon review
The English language requires specific word order rules, to make sure your sentences make grammatical sense. When you change your word order, you can change the meaning of your sentence. This guide explains standard sentence structures, so that you will always be understood clearly.
Adjectives describe nouns, and are usually placed either before a noun (as part of the noun phrase) or after a noun, pronoun or verb. The rules for this placement are quite simple, but when we use more than one adjective the word order is important, to sound more natural and to make the meaning clear. (Note this article is an earlier of version available more fully in Word Order in English Sentences.)
Placing an adjective before or after the noun
Adjectives are placed directly before a noun to add detail to the noun. In a noun phrase, with additional words (such as determiners and adverbs), the adjective should be the last word before the noun. When they are removed from the sentence, the sentence should still make sense: Continue reading