Basic Word Order English word order is strict and rather inflexible. As there are few endings in English that show person, peculiarities of Russian grammar in children, case and tense, English relies on word order to show relationships between words in a sentence. In Russian, we rely on word endings to tell us how words interact in a sentence.
You probably remember the example that was made up by Academician L. Scherba in order to show the work of endings and suffixes in Russian. No English translation for this example. Everything we need to know about the interaction of the characters in this Russian sentence, we learn from the endings and suffixes. The subject and the object in these sentences are completely the same in form.
How do you know who sees whom? The rules of English word order tell us about it. Word order patterns in English sentences A sentence is a group of words containing a subject and a predicate and expressing a complete thought. Word order arranges separate words into sentences in a certain way and indicates where to find the subject, the predicate, and the other parts of the sentence. Word order and context help to identify the meanings of individual words. Declarative sentences are the most common type of sentences. Word order in declarative sentences serves as a basis for word order in the other types of sentences.
Types of verbs are described in Verbs Glossary of Terms in the section Grammar. Transitive verbs Transitive verbs require a direct object: Tom writes stories. See Transitive and Intransitive Verbs in the section Miscellany. For example: He gave me the key. Such sentences often have the following word order: He gave the key to me. She sent a letter to him. Intransitive verbs Intransitive verbs do not take a direct object.
Examples of sentences with intransitive verbs: Maria works. They live in a small town. The verb BE is the main linking verb. It is often followed by a noun or an adjective: He is a doctor.
See The Verb BE in the section Grammar. The material below describes standard word order in different types of sentences very briefly. The other materials of the section Word Order give a more detailed description of standard word order and its peculiarities in different types of sentences. Tom writes short stories for children. My son bought three history books. He is writing a report now.
See Word Order in Statements in the section Grammar. Interrogative sentences Interrogative sentences include general questions, special questions, alternative questions, and tag questions. See Word Order in Questions in the section Grammar. Did you go to the concert?
Is he writing a report now? They visited Mexico five years ago. Alternative questions Alternative questions are questions with a choice. Word order before “or” is the same as in general questions. Is he a teacher or a doctor? Does he live in Paris or in Rome?
Are you writing a report or a letter? Would you like coffee or tea? Tag questions Tag questions consist of two parts. He is a teacher, isn’t he? They haven’t seen this film, have they?