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Grammar Exercise 03: Sentence Patterns
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Sentence Part Patterns

Sentence parts (subject, verbs, objects, etc.) come arranged in different ways. Here are four sentence patterns that journalists rely on.

  1. S/V The simplest sentence pattern is subject + verb.
    • News spreads.
    • The accident victim sobbed.
    (In this case, the verb is intransitive: it does not take an object).

  2. S/V/SC If the sentence has a linking verb (the verb be in some form, such as is, were, am, had been — or one of the following verbs — appear, become, feel, grow, look, make, seem, smell, and sound) and a subject complement (a word or words that give more information about the subject), the pattern is subject + verb + subject complement.
    • The driver appeared intoxicated.
    • They are professionals.

  3. S/V/O If the sentence has a transitive verb (carries action from a subject to an object) and a direct object (receives the action of the verb), the sentence pattern is subject + verb + direct object.
    • Professor Figuera threw the textbook.
    • Domestic violence often can lead to murder.

    Note: S/V/O is a major tool for the journalist. This pattern produces clear, direct writing.


  4. S / V / IO / DO If the sentence has a verb followed by an indirect object (names the receiver of the direct object) and a direct object (receives the action of the verb, the pattern is subject + verb + indirect object + direct object.
    • The editor-in-chief gave the assignment to the newest reporter.
    • Local newspapers inform the public about their communities.

    Note: For more information on sentence parts, see subsequent sections of Grammar.

Group Forms to Ignite College Student Activism

Identify the sentence patterns in the following sentences.
(a) S/V-subject-verb
(b) S/V/SC-subject-verb-subject complement
(c) S/V/O-subject-verb-object
(d) S/V/IO/DO-subject-verb-indirect object-direct object.

1
Students from 45 colleges and universities today agreed to form a national organization devoted to fighting student apathy.
A)S/V-subject-verb
B)S/V/SC-subject-verb-subject complement
C)S/V/O-subject-verb-object
D)S/V/IO/DO-subject-verb-indirect object-direct object
2
The students said their immediate objective is to increase student turnout in elections.
A)S/V-subject-verb
B)S/V/SC-subject-verb-subject complement
C)S/V/O-subject-verb-object
D)S/V/IO/DO-subject-verb-indirect object-direct object
3
Students don't vote.
A)S/V-subject-verb
B)S/V/SC-subject-verb-subject complement
C)S/V/O-subject-verb-object
D)S/V/IO/DO-subject-verb-indirect object-direct object
4
That was the message the group told delegates to take home.
A)S/V-subject-verb
B)S/V/SC-subject-verb-subject complement
C)S/V/O-subject-verb-object
D)S/V/IO/DO-subject-verb-indirect object-direct object
5
Most of the delegates to the weekend conference appeared enthusiastic about the prospect of increasing student activism.
A)S/V-subject-verb
B)S/V/SC-subject-verb-subject complement
C)S/V/O-subject-verb-object
D)S/V/IO/DO-subject-verb-indirect object-direct object
6
Stewart Haines of Mallory College told the 150 delegates, "Your task is just beginning."
A)S/V-subject-verb
B)S/V/SC-subject-verb-subject complement
C)S/V/O-subject-verb-object
D)S/V/IO/DO-subject-verb-indirect object-direct object
7
Studies have shown that college students lack civic concerns.
A)S/V-subject-verb
B)S/V/SC-subject-verb-subject complement
C)S/V/O-subject-verb-object
D)S/V/IO/DO-subject-verb-indirect object-direct object
8
The result, said Haines, is the growing power of special-interest groups and lobbyists.
A)S/V-subject-verb
B)S/V/SC-subject-verb-subject complement
C)S/V/O-subject-verb-object
D)S/V/IO/DO-subject-verb-indirect object-direct object
9
The delegates also want to stimulate interest in public-service careers.
A)S/V-subject-verb
B)S/V/SC-subject-verb-subject complement
C)S/V/O-subject-verb-object
D)S/V/IO/DO-subject-verb-indirect object-direct object
10
Few students seem interested in teaching or government service.
A)S/V-subject-verb
B)S/V/SC-subject-verb-subject complement
C)S/V/O-subject-verb-object
D)S/V/IO/DO-subject-verb-indirect object-direct object







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