Sentence Patterns



  • Most sentences you write fall into one of six basic sentence patterns. You can develop your ability to vary your writing by further expanding (make larger or more extensive) these basic sentence patterns.
  • You can expand them by adding modifiers, appositives (noun or noun phrases that provides information that further identifies or defines it), prepositional phrases, and verbal phrases.
  • Each of these sentence patterns can also be expanded by making the subject, the verb, or any of the complements to compound.
  • By doing this, you can create many varieties within a particular sentence pattern.

SENTENCE PATTERN 1: Subject – Verb (S-V)

S        V

Cows graze

S                                                       V

Cows belonging to Rick always graze in the pasture.


SENTENCE PATTERN 2: Subject – Verb – Direct Object (S-V-O)

S         V     O

Boys swam laps

S                                                         V                 O

The boys on the swim team effortlessly swam many laps.


SENTENCE PATTERN 3: Subject -Verb – Indirect Object – Direct Object (S-V-I-O)


S            V      I       O

Mr. Jung sent me tickets.

S                                   V   IO     O

Mr. Jung unexpectedly sent me tickets to the World Olympics.


SENTENCE PATTERN 4: Subject-Verb-Predicate Nominative* (S-V-N)


S           V     N

Campers are hikers

S                                             V           N

Many campers in my neighborhood are avid hikers.


SENTENCE PATTERN 5: Subject–Verb-Predicate Adjective (S-V-A)


S             V       A

Spectators grew restless

S                                                           V                A

The crowded spectators in the hot room suddenly grew very restless.

SENTENCE PATTERN 6: Subject – Verb-Direct Object – Object Complement (S-V-                                                                                                                                   O-C)

S                V              O

Everybody considers Sachiko trustworthy.

S                                             V              O                               C

Everybody in my workplace considers Sachiko absolutely trustworthy.


PRACTICE  1 – Identifying Sentence Patterns                    

Write the sentence pattern followed in each sentence below.

  1. Freshly cut hay always smells clean and sweet.
  2. Many historians consider Fredrick Douglass a major personality in United States history.
  3. The coach of the soccer team gave each member a certificate of achievement.
  4. Fallen meteors have been found by scientists in various parts of the world.
  5. The correct answer to the question is the first one.
  6. The surprise birthday party made Roselyn very happy.
  7. The players on the football team anxiously awaited the referee’s decision.
  8. The sunsets at the beach are unusually colorful.
  9. The kind tour guide gave us a detailed map of the area.
  10. The sheet of paper in the printer is the last page of Hiro’s essay.