Thursday, September 28, 2023

Functional units (SVOCA)

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Part of sentences & Five Basic Sentence Patterns.

A sentence is a group of words that gives a complete sense or meaning.

A sentence should have a subject and a predicate.

A sentence may contain some basic elements.

  1. Subject (S)
  2. Verb (V)
  3. Complement (C)
  4. Object (O)
  5. Adjunct (A)
  1. Subject (S):

The subject of the sentence is the person or thing doing the action or being described.

  • Chris ate an apple.

(Chris is the subject of the sentence. Chris is doing the action.)

  • Chris is a tall boy.

(Chris is the subject of this sentence. Chris is being described.)

In these two sentences, the verbs are “ate and is”. Chris is the subject of these verbs.

That’s what makes Chris the subject of the sentences.

Eg: 1. Maria sang a song.

Who sang? Maria.

  1. This bag is heavy.

What is heavy? This bag.

Easy Examples for subjects

Every sentence must have a verb and every verb must have a subject. In the example below you can easily find subject (red) and verbs (bold).

  • Good friends are loyal people.
  • Our turkey was eaten by our dog.
  • Grandfather is visiting us for a dinner.
  • Colombo is the smallest city in Sri Lanka.
  • My little dog and old cat are playing in the garden.


2. Verb (V):

A verb is a doing word that shows an action, event or state. A sentence may either have a main verb, a helping verb or both. The verb is the primary word in a sentence. No sentence can complete without a verb.

Types of verbs:

  • Main verbs (or action verbs)
  • Helping verbs
  • Linking verbs
  • Transitive Verbs
  • Intransitive Verb


  • Main verbs or action verbs.

Main or action verbs are used to express action; something that an animal, person or a thing does.

  • She sings a song
  • The star twinkles. 
  • The tree sways.
  • Helping verb

Helping verbs help or support the main verb.

  • We are learning English.

(are: helping verb; learning: main verb )

  • They were playing cricket in the ground.

(was: helping verb; playing: the main verb )

  • you should complete the work by next week.

(should: helping verb; complete: the main verb )


  • Linking verb (state of being verbs)

Linking verbs connect a link between the subject of the sentence and a noun or adjective being linked to it.


  • The flowers are very beautiful.
  • I feel hungry.
  • I am five years old.
  • She is a wonderful singer.
  • They were winners in 1996.


  • Transitive verb

A transitive verb expresses an action directed towards a person, place or thing. The action expressed by a transitive verb passes from the doer or the subject to the receiver of the action. Words that receive the action of a transitive verb are called objects.


  • birds have feathers.
  • she is singing a song.
  • john bought a bicycle.
  • I like English.


  • Intransitive verb

An intransitive verb does not allow a direct object. This is a direct object. This is a distinction from a transitive verb, which takes one or more objects. Intransitive verbs are often identified as those that can’t be followed by who or what.

    • Let’s go
    • The kids are playing.
    • Sam is sleeping.
    • she sits here.
    • Tom will speak tomorrow.



complement is a word or phrase which is used to complete the meaning of a sentence. The sentence will be complete without it.


There are three types of complements in English grammar. Subject, Object and Verb Complements.

  1. Subject complement.

A Subject complement is a word or phrase that follows a linking verb and identifies or describes any subject. Subject complement gives us more information about a subject. A subject complement can be an adjective, noun or pronoun. 

Kene is

He became

They are not complete. they need some more words. the words which complete the meaning are called complements.

Kene is a teacher.                       Kene = a teacher

He became a politician.               He     = a politician.

Here the two complements refer to the subject. So, they are calledSubject Complements’.


He is a policeman. (adjective)

The box is a present. (noun)

She will be fine. (adjective)

I am he.  (pronoun)

The soup tastes bad. (Adjective)

2. Complement the verb.

A verb complement is the arrangement of one verb as the object of another verb. It happens in three ways in English.

With infinitive

I ask her to leave.

I want to go.

Pravin helps me to speak.

With gerund

Mr Suthip considered leaving the job.

He remembered sending the fax.

Some people prefer getting up early in the morning.

With noun clause

I wondered why he left.

He saw her when he crossed the road.

She didn’t know that he was an actor.

3. Object complement.

An object complement follows a direct object. It may be a word or phrase that gives additional information about a direct object. In a sense, it explains what the direct object has become. It can be a noun, pronoun, or adjective.


  • Ann made me happy.

“Me” is the direct object.

“Happy” is the object complement. (Adjective)

“Happy” is what I have become (The direct Object is me.)

  •  The instructor named Jean the new couch.

“Jean” is the direct object.

“The new couch” is a noun phrase.

“The new couch” is the object complement.

“The new couch” is what Jean has become.

  1. Object(O):

in grammar, an object is a noun, pronoun or noun phrase on a verb performs the action.  It falls at the end of a sentence.

  1. direct object.

A direct object in a sentence is directly acted upon by a subject.


The ocean calls the Pacific.

Sash paints a picture.

Sri Lanka welcomed millions of tourists.

  1. indirect object

An indirect object in a sentence is the beneficiary of the direct object. It basically tells us to whom/what or for whom/what something is done. An indirect object can be comprised of at least one word, an expression, a phrase or a prepositional phrase.


Kate bought his son an expensive car.

Our father built us a treehouse.

The teacher gave the exam papers to the students.

5. Adjunct(A):

An adjunct is an addition to a sentence. It gives more information and meaning to a sentence. Can be identified by asking why/ when/ where/ how.

EX: The baby cried.

The baby cried loudly. (loudly = adjunct)

The baby cried loudly in the room. (in the room = adjunct)



                   The Five Basic Sentence Patterns.

  1. Subject + Verb (Adjunct)
  2. Subject + Verb + Object (Adjunct)
  3. Subject + Verb + Indirect Object + Direct Object (Adjunct)
  4. Subject + Verb + Complement (Adjunct) (Subject Complement)
  5. Subject + Verb + Direct Object + (Complement) (Adjunct) (Object Complement)



To understand the basic sentence patterns, we should know the three categories of the main verbs.

  1. Intransitive verb: It does not need an object.
  2. Transitive verb: It takes an object.
  3. Linking Verb: It connects the subject to the complement.


Given below are some examples of different sentence patterns:

  • S + V
  1. The children are sleeping.
  2. The girls cried.
  3. The teacher laughed.
  • S + V + O
  1. She likes cake.
  2. We bought a car.
  3. Mikel played cricket.
  • S + V + C (Subject Complement)
  1. My father got angry.
  2. The flower is beautiful.
  3. Joshi is honest.
  • S + V + O + C
  1. We named our dog July.
  2. The board elected him captain.
  3. She called him a coward.
  • S + V + IO + DO
  1. They gave her a prize.
  2. My brother told me the story.
  3. The teacher taught us English.
  • S + V + A(Adverb)
  1. The baby cried bitterly.
  2. The dog barked loudly.
  3. Shirin sings sweetly.
  • S + V + O + A(Adjunct)
  1. I bought a car yesterday.
  2. Mohan broke his pen today.
  3. Our uncle will visit us next week.
  • S + V + C
  1. Bill Gates became rich soon.
  2. His father is a manager in a bank.
  3. My mother has been ill for the past five years.
  • V + S
  1. Are you playing?
  2. Are you sleeping?






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