<< Back to Blog


Posted on October 2, 2011

Perhaps the simplest sentence is composed of three words; subject-verb-object. Somebody/something performs an action on somebody/something. It’s easy, but it’s worth dwelling a moment on it, just because it is so easy; it is the basic building block of narrative; if a bricklayer does not understand bricks, he is in danger of building a the wall incorrectly.

English is a language in which word order defines meaning, as opposed to the dead language, Latin, in which word order was of no importance. Thus, in English, the sentence ‘Kate hits Jake’ has a completely different meaning to the sentence ‘Jake hits Kate’. In Latin, this would not necessarily have been so because ‘Jake hitting’ would have had a different ending to ‘Jake being hit’.

In English, the word before the verb is ALWAYS the ‘doer’, the word following the verb is the ‘done to’, providing the verb is active (as opposed to passive – of which more later.


Tags: active verbs, Basic sentence structure