Order of Words in a Sentence

To make meaningful sentences we need to arrange words in a particular order. The usual order of words in an English sentence is as follows:


In an affirmative sentence, the subject usually comes before the verb.

Interrogative sentences usually begin with an auxiliary verb followed by the subject.


The object usually comes after the verb.

When there are two objects, the indirect object (which usually denotes a person) usually comes before the direct object (thing).


When an adjective is used attributively, it comes before the noun it qualifies.

When an adjective is used predicatively, it comes after the verb.


An adverb is usually placed close to the word it modifies.

Phrases and clauses

Phrases and clauses should be placed close to the words they modify.


For the sake of emphasis we sometimes alter the normal order of words in a sentence. For instance, words that need to be emphasized are usually placed at the beginning of the sentence.


Another common practice is to begin sentences with adverbs or adverb phrases.

Note that adverbs sometimes need a comma after them.

See also

Adverb clauses
Adjective clauses
Noun clauses
Transformation of sentences

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