SEA - Supporting English Acquisition
Identifying English Word Order Patterns

In each sentence below, words or phrases that represent major sentence elements appear randomly in different colors. These sentence elements include SUBJECTS (S), VERBS (V), and OBJECTS (O). For each sentence, identify the superficial word order pattern that it exhibits. Some sentences will exhibit basic SVO word orders; others will exhibit alternative word orders depending on the extent to which basic SVO order has been disturbed by the movement of elements, the interruption of elements, or the lack of explicit subjects for some structures.

 

For each sentence, write down its word order pattern, for example, SVOSVO, OSV, VSSVO, etc. Then click on "ANSWER" to see the correct pattern.

 

Label any VERB-ing element as a V, despite its actual function as a finite verb, infinitive, participle, or gerund. Label a verb along with any accompanying "helping verbs" as V (for example, will go = V). Also label as V any helping verb that occurs alone before a SUBJECT, as in questions.

 

1. The site visitor reloaded the document. Answer
ANSWER: SVO The site visitor (S) reloaded (V) the document (O).

2. Having reloaded the document, the site visitor updated the cache. Answer
ANSWER: VOSVO Having reloaded (V) the document (O), the site visitor (S) updated (V) the cache (O).

3. Web developers can use style sheets for developing attractive presentations. Answer
ANSWER: SVOVO Web developers (S) can use (V) style sheets (O) for developing (V) attractive presentations (O).

4. The e-mail message which you sent finally arrived yesterday. Answer
ANSWER: SOSVV The e-mail message (S) which (O) you (S) sent (V) ____ finally arrived (V) yesterday.

5. Can we open a second browser window? Answer
ANSWER: VSVO Can (V) we (S) open (V) a second browser window (O)?

6. When you click a link, you will see another document. Answer
ANSWER: SVOSVO When you (S) click (V) a link (O), you (S) will see (V) another document (O).

7. Clicking a link will reveal another document. Answer
ANSWER: VOVO Clicking (V) a link (O) will reveal (V) another document (O).

8. The system administrator decided to create a newsgroup for discussing local issues. Answer
ANSWER: SVVOVO The system administrator (S) decided (V) to create (V) a newsgroup (O) for discussing (V) local issues (O).

9. Which URL did the administrator say that the programmer should omit? Answer
ANSWER: OVSVSV Which URL (O) did (V) the administrator (S) say (V) that the programmer (S) should omit (V) ____?

10. Most e-mail systems have address books which store and organize e-mail addresses. Answer
ANSWER: SVOSVVO Most e-mail systems (S) have (V) address books (O) which (S) store (V) and organize (V) e-mail addresses (O).

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