10 basic sentences in the English language

update 9/9/2012: For the purposes of our class, Quirk and Greenbaum’s 5+2 scheme is simpler and easier to remember.

According to Martha Kolln (p 55), the following 10 sentence patterns account for 95% of all sentences in English. NOTE: The sentences below are the simplest form of each pattern; each has just one independent clause.

3 “be” patterns
The students are upstairs.
The students are diligent.
The students are scholars.

2 linking verb patterns
The students seem diligent.
The students became scholars.

1 intransitive verb pattern
The students rested.

4 transitive verb patterns
The students studied their assignment.
The students gave the professor their homework.
The students consider the teacher intelligent.
The students consider the course a challenge.


What makes these sentences different is the predicate, not the subject, and what makes the predicates different is the grammatical function of its parts.

3 “be” patterns
The students are upstairs.
(Subject – Be-verb – Adverb)

The students are diligent.
(Subject – Be-verb – Adjective)

The students are scholars.
(Subject – Be-verb – Subject Complement)

2 linking verb patterns
The students seem diligent.
(Subject – Linking verb – Adjective)

The students became scholars.
(Subject – Linking verb – Subject Complement)

1 intransitive verb pattern
The students rested.
(Subject – Intransitive Verb)

4 transitive verb patterns
The students studied their assignment.
(Subject – Transitive Verb – Direct Object)

The students gave the professor their homework.
(Subject – Transitive Verb – Indirect Object Direct Object)

The students consider the teacher intelligent.
(Subject – Transitive Verb – Direct Object – Adjective)

The students consider the course a challenge.
(Subject – Transitive Verb – Direct Object – Object Complement)


4 transitive verb patterns in living color
The students studied their assignment.
(Subject  Transitive verb  Direct Object)

The students gave the professor their homework.
(Subject  Transitive Verb  Indirect Object  Direct Object)

The students consider the teacher intelligent.
(Subject Transitive Verb Indirect Object Adjective)

The students consider the course a challenge.
(Subject  Transitive Verb  Direct Object – Object Complement)


The last 4 sentences again:
The students (SUBJECT = NOUN PHRASE) || studied (VERB) their assignment (DIRECT OBJECT = NOUN PHRASE).
The students (SUBJECT = NOUN PHRASE) || gave (VERB) the professor (INDIRECT OBJECT = NOUN PHRASE) their homework (DIRECT OBJECT = NOUN PHRASE).
The students (SUBJECT = NOUN PHRASE) || consider (VERB) the teacher intelligent (ADJECTIVE).
The students (SUBJECT = NOUN PHRASE) || consider (VERB) the course a challenge (SUBJECT COMPLEMENT = NOUN PHRASE).


NOTE: All subjects in sentences are either NOUNS or NOUN PHRASES.


DEFINITIONS:
linking verb
intransitive verb
transitive verb

AND SEE:
SVO v. SVC
5 + 2: the 7 ‘canonical’ English sentences
Class notes on X-1-2-3
3 ways to combine the 7 sentence patterns
10 basic sentence patterns in the English language
SM’s sophisticated SVOO sentence
DT’s astute observation (reflexive pronouns)
tablehtml mergecells
A short overview of English syntax by Rodney Huddleston

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