English Topic 16 - Syntax or word order in a sentence

Syntax or word order in a sentence commonly appears in 11 plus exams.

The word order is known as the syntax. The standard English sentence order is this: Subject, verb and then the object. A variety of different sentences can be created by changing the position of any prepositions, adverbs and adjectives within a sentence.


Correct word order: The cow walked slowly to the milking shed. (subject = the cow, verb = walked, object = milking shed)

Correct word order: Slowly, the cow walked to the milking shed (fronted adverbial before the subject, verb and object)

Incorrect word order: Walked the cow to the milking shed slowly.

Correct word order: Beth worked hard for her exam. (subject = Beth, verb = worked, object = exam)

Incorrect word order: Worked hard Beth for her exam.

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