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BASIC SENTENCE PATTERNS

PATTERN I : INTRANSITIVE VERB


Pattern 1, the simplest pattern, can be formed with two words: a noun and a verb, although the noun is
often preceded by a noun determiner. The verb in this pattern is intransitive because it doesnt need
anything else to complete its meaning.

(n-d) N + V
The students debate
She cried

PATTERN II : TRANSITIVE VERB


Pattern II has a verb which needs something to complete it. In this particular case, the other word is
also a noun working as Direct Object. So Pattern II has a Transitive Verb.

(n-d) N1 + V (n-d) + N2
The students wrote compositions.
They bought some clothes

Some verbs can be used in both Pattern I and II, depending on whether they are used as Transitive or
Intransitive
The car moved (Pattern I- Intransitive Verb)
The attendant moved the car (Pattern II - Transitive verb)

PATTERN III: NOUN AS SUBJECTIVE COMPLEMENT


Pattern III is formed with a linking Verb. Linking verbs in English are: BE- LOOK APPEAR
SEEM- FEEL REMAIN BECOME TASTE SOUND - SMELL

Pattern III contains two nouns normally connected by the verbs BE, BECOME, REMAIN, because the
two nouns refer to the same thing or person.

(n-d) N1 + V+ (n-d) N1
Fred was the winner
The students became friends
The weather remained a problem

PATTERN IV: ADJECTIVE AS SUBJECTIVE COMPLEMENT


Pattern IV has an adjective as complement of the Verb. Once again, this pattern has Linking Verbs. The
verbs normally included in this pattern are: SEEM, LOOK, FEEL , APPEAR, TASTE, SOUND,
SMELL.

(n-d) N1 + V + ADJECTIVE
The flowers smelled beautiful
The road seemed narrow
She felt sad

PATTERN V: ADVERB AS SUBJECTIVE COMPLEMENT.


Pattern V, the least frequent pattern, also uses a Linking Verb but followed by an adverb. Most adverbs
in this pattern are Adverbs of Place which can be replaced by there, but an Adverb of Time can also
by used, which can be replaced by Then

(n-d) N+ V+ ADVERB
Students are everywhere
The dog was inside
The game is tomorrow
a) Identify the basic sentence pattern in each of these sentences. Write the Number of the pattern and
its formula.
b) Recognise AUXILIARY VERBS and MAIN VERBS.
c) Classify the MAIN VERBS AND ITS OBJECTS OR COMPLEMENTS.

1- Peter was a doctor


2- Freedom was attractive
3- The United States contain wealth
4- The experiment continues
5- The Senators have found a solution
6- The meeting was yesterday
7- The Congressmen debated
8- Discipline became important
9- John has been inside
10- The missionaries could help the children
11- The people were relatives
12- The night was dark
13- The natives were aborigines
14- She left
15- They left the house
16- The radio wasnt working
17- They should have been studying mathematics
18- They became famous
19- Peter must have been outside
20- The restaurant may be open
21- Susan can be an actress
22- They boys danced
23- We are very tired
24- They looked unhappy
25- The story sounded interesting.

EXAMPLE: SENTENCE 5
The senators have found a solution. PATTERN II: TV + DO
HAVE: AUX V
FOUND: MV TV
A SOLUTION: DO
26-

MAIN VERBS AND AUXILIARY VERBS

BE: As a main verb, be is the most important linking verb. It expresses an attribute of the subject
(that is to say, it describes the subject)

As an auxiliary verb, be has 2 functions:


Progressive aspect: as the auxiliary for the progressive or continuous tenses.
Passive Voice: as the auxiliary before a Verb in the Past Participle form.

HAVE: As a main verb, Have is a common lexical verb, and has a variety of meanings.

Physical possession: She has a dog


Family Connection: She has a daughter
Food Consumption: She had a sandwich (ate)
Existential: She has a man living upstairs (there is a man living upstairs)
Describing an abstract quality: She has fun / Science will have a future.

HAVE TO: In this case, Have has a semi-modal status, indicating obligation.

I have to leave now.


She has to work hard.

There are also a number of idiomatic expressions with have, such as: TO HAVE A LOOK.

As an auxiliary verb have is a marker of the Perfect aspect ( always followed by the past
participle form of a verb)
She has been ill
They had never eaten Thai food.

DO As a main verb in transitive constructions (those that take a Direct Object) , Do has an active
meaning.
Do me a favour
Do is also used with the following phrases.

The job your hair your best the dishes some work the shopping an exam a test the
housework some homework.

Do also functions as a PRO-VERB: that is to say, it substitutes a lexical verb which has already been
mentioned. In this case it combines with it / this / that.

Who broke the window?


I didnt do it.

Do can also substitute an intransitive verb.


He doesnt know you.
He does!

As an auxiliary, EMPHATIC DO emphasises the meaning of the following predicate, in affirmative and
imperative sentences.
Do shut up!
I do like music
He did call me

DO functions as an auxiliary in negative and interrogative constructions. In this use, it does not
contribute any semantic content. It indicates the present or past tense.
I didnt see him
He doesnt like it.
Does he live here?
Did you see him?
Verbs can be classified into: LINKING or COPULAR, INTRANSITIVE AND TRANSITIVE.
LINKING VERBS:
In English, the Copula is any form of the verb Be used as a link between the verb and a following
phrase. The link expresses identity (Pattern III) or describes some property or attribute of the subject
(Patterns IV and V).
Mary is a nurse (identity)
You look better today (description)

Linking verbs include: seem, appear, remain, get (when it means become), become, look, sound, taste,
feel and smell.

Some of these verbs can work as Linking Verbs or Transitive Verbs depending on the sentence.
Compare: Rose sounds happy (linking verb)
Rose sounded the alarm (Transitive verb)

The wine tasted sweet (linking)


She tasted the wine (Transitive)

TRANSITIVE VERBS.
A transitive verbs takes a Direct or Indirect Object, so typically, a transitive verb is followed by a noun
phrase.
She cut the cake (direct object)
He gave George some money.
I. O D. O.
There are two types of transitive verbs: MONOTRANSITIVE (only one object, always Direct), and
DITRANSITIVE (two objects: direct and Indirect)

INTRANSITIVE VERBS:
An intransitive verb does not take an object (direct or indirect). Some common intransitive verbs are:
arrive, come, go, jump.
Finally, Verbs can be also classified into simple lexical verbs (come, arrive, take, etc) and multi-word
verbs (phrasal verbs: look for, cut down, etc; prepositional phrases: come across, take up)

Transitive or Intransitive Verbs

1- The baby fell on the floor


2- She received a parcel in yesterdays mail
3- They took their coats off when they arrived
4- She wants to go somewhere fun
5- Sorry but we must leave
6- Dont forget to leave your keys
7- The cook watched while the waiter served
8- They watched the last Bond film last night
9- The crowd moved across the field
10- I moved all those black boxes that were in the basement
11- The plate broke
12- We broke the window by accident
1- The house is being redecorated right now.
2- I could swim very well at the time
3- I havent finished the book.
4- She wont come today
5- She might have forgotten all about it
6- They will have been working here for 10 years
7- The book will have been finished by next year
8- They are watching TV
9- Can you help me?
10- I have been calling him all day
11- He must have left the house
12- We are sleeping
13- She cant speak French
14- They will be coming next Monday
15- The film has been finished
16- They have discovered the truth
17- He might be studying
18- The painting cant have been stolen.
19- He will arrive soon
20- We will have been working tomorrow.