If you want to make a perfect sentence in English, you should follow some simple rules. In this blog post, we will share 10 rules that will help you improve your grammar and writing skills. So, let’s get started!
10 Rules to Make a Perfect Sentences
1. The subject and the object in a sentence
a. First, let’s talk about the object in a sentence: in English, we use what is called ‘the accusative case’ to indicate objects and things that we refer to directly. The object of a verb in English is formed by adding -object or -objective after its verb form.
For example: He eats cake or he eats it.
b. When the object is a pronoun, you have to add -objective after it: he ate cake = he ate it; they drink juice = they drink it.
2. Verbs in the sentence
a. In English, we have two important types of verbs: regular and irregular ones.
b. Regular verbs are called like that because they follow a set pattern to end up with their past tense (e.g. ‘play’, ‘played’).
c. Irregular verbs, on the other hand, do not follow any set pattern and you have to remember their forms by heart (e.g. be – was/were; go – went).
3. The past tense in English: three points to remember
a. In English, we use different verb forms to express a sentence in the past simple tense.
b. Verbs have a fixed form to indicate the past tense, they do not require any auxiliary verbs or changes. The only thing you have to do is add -ed at the end of the verb: e.g., he ate = he ate.
c. However, there are some exceptions to the rule: first of all, irregular verbs have their own ending for past simple form – e.g., play – played; go – went.
4. Word order in English
a. Word order is very important in English, because the meaning of your sentence can change if you do not pay attention to it.
Follow our rule of thumb: Subject + main verb + object = he ate an apple;
b. Do not forget that the auxiliary verbs are at the end of the sentence – e.g., I have eaten an apple = I have eaten.
c. As you can see in the example sentence, if you are using an auxiliary verb, then it has to be after the main verb – e.g., do not say ‘I eat’. This sentence would mean something different in English – e.g., ‘I am eating’.
5. Modals and helping verbs
a. Modals are very commonly used in English because they allow you to express an opinion or your attitude towards something or someone.
b. They are not mandatory, but, if you use them, then they have to come after the main verb of the sentence – e.g., I can speak French = I can speak; he must finish this work = he must finish.
6. Questions and negatives
a. In English, questions are formed by inverting the order of words in a sentence – e.g., you often ask ‘Do you speak?’
However, sometimes, this is not enough to form a question and we have to use auxiliary verbs or changes in word order – e.g., do I understand correctly? = Do I understand correctly?; Did I tell you that already? = Did I tell you already?
b. Negatives in English are either formed by adding -not after the main verb, or by using ‘do/does + not + base form of a verb’: e.g., we can say ‘I don’t understand’ and ‘I don’t understand’.
7. Point of view in English
a. Point of view is something very interesting in English, because it allows you to change the way your sentence is said – e.g., the same sentence can be said with different points of view: They were singing = they sang; They are singing = they are singing. An example sentence with different point of views:
They were playing football but suddenly it started to rain.
- They were playing until suddenly it started to rain.
- They are playing, but suddenly it starts to rain.
8. Reported speech in English
a. Reported speech means that you are reporting something someone else said – e.g., Jenny said she wanted to go. The sentence ‘Jenny said she wanted to go’ has been reported, because the speaker of the sentence is not Jenny.
Reported speech requires several changes in word order – e.g., he told me that = he told me; I asked if it was raining = I asked whether it was raining.
b. The following rules apply to reported speech:
i) change the tense to past simple;
ii) use pronouns;
iii) replace modal verbs with simpler forms (e.g., can becomes could, may becomes might).
However, this does not apply when asking questions in reported speech – e.g., he asked if I liked him = he asked whether I liked him.
9. Questions about point of view
a. When you are asking questions about point of view, use the following question words:
– Who saw her?
– Who did they see?
– Who did they see?
– What do you mean?
– What did they see?
– Where is he now?
– Where is Paskistan
– Why are you doing that?
– Why have you been doing that?
– Why did she do that? Whom do/did you mean?’
– Whom did they mean?
– Whom did she mean?
b. The past perfect is often required in reported speech when you are talking about something that happened before another action in the past.
c. To ask questions about point of view, follow this pattern:
Who/what/where – to ask about who/what/where
– To ask about who/what/where, use ‘who’/’what’/’where’. e.g., Where is he now? Where did she go to?
– To ask when (questions in reported speech ONLY)
– To ask when using in reported speech, use ‘when’, e.g., When did he tell you?
– To ask why (questions in reported speech ONLY)
– To ask why, use ‘why’, e.g., Why did she do that?
– To ask whom (questions in reported speech ONLY)
– To ask whom, use ‘whom’, e.g., Whom do/did you mean?
c. Note that this pattern does NOT apply to questions asking about the modal verbs will, would, should and could!
– To ask questions with these modals, use ‘will’/’would’/’should’/’could’. e.g., Will she do that? She will tell them the truth.
– To ask questions using these modals, use ‘will’/’would’/’should’/’could’. e.g., Will she do that? When will she tell you what is happening?
d. You can also use ‘if’ to ask about point of view – e.g., Who did they see if it wasn’t Jenny?
a. Pronouns replace a noun or name that has already been mentioned – e.g., She was angry because she didn’t understand what he said. I bought a train ticket because I wanted to go home. In the first sentence, ‘she’ replaces ‘the woman’. In the second sentence, ‘I’ replaces ‘the man’.
b. Always use the following pronouns in reported speech:
I – ‘I’ replaces the subject of a sentence or clause, e.g., I wanted to go home. She said she was angry.
you – ‘you’ replaces the object, e.g., Do you understand what she means? They didn’t see you.
he/she – ‘he’ and ‘she’ replace the subject of a sentence or clause, e.g., He didn’t understand what she said. They saw him.
we – ‘we’ replaces the subject of a sentence or clause, e.g., We didn’t want to go home. They told us.
they – ‘they’ replaces the subject of a sentence or clause, e.g., They didn’t see them. I said they should go home.
it – ‘it’ replaces the object, e.g., Do you understand what it is? She thinks it was his fault. The only time you don’t use ‘it’ is when you are talking about a baby, e.g., She’s expecting a baby in June. Then you use the pronoun ‘he’ or ‘she’.
c. Forms and structures of pronouns:
1) I/you/he/she/it – no changes;
2) we/they – no changes;
3) who/whom – no changes;
4) where – ‘where’ replaces places only, e.g., Where is he? He’s in London.
5) why – ‘why’ replaces question words (who/what/which/how), and it replaces reason, use ‘for’, e.g., Why don’t you understand? He wants to know why.
6) where – ‘where’ replaces a place, use ‘to’, e.g., Where are they going? They’re going to the cinema.
7) when – ‘when’ replaces a time, use ‘on’, e.g., When did he tell you? He told me on Wednesday.
8) whose – no changes;
9) how much/many – no changes;
10) as, than, like – ‘as’ replaces comparison or equality, e.g., She’s as old as him. He’s taller than her. ‘Like’ is used to compare things that aren’t equal. e.g., He likes apples and oranges.
11) as/than – ‘as’ is used to compare things that aren’t equal, ‘than’ is used for comparisons of equality, e.g., She’s as old as him (NOT than him), He’s taller than her (NOT as her).
11) like – ‘like’ is used for comparisons of non-equality, e.g., She likes apples and oranges (NOT as apples).
Infographics (Sentence Rules)