English Sentence Structure – English Grammar Lesson


Hi, I’m Olivier. Welcome to Oxford Online English! In this lesson, you can learn about sentence
structure in English. You’ll learn how to construct all kinds
of sentences in English, from the simplest possible sentences, to long, complex sentences
which contain many different ideas. To begin, a question: What’s the simplest sentence you can make
in English? What does every sentence in English need? Every sentence needs a verb. The simplest sentence is an imperative, which
means when you tell someone to do something. For example: Run! Leave! Work! These are the simplest complete sentences
you can make in English; they’re just one word long! Of course, most sentences are longer than
this. Most sentences that are longer than one word
also need a noun before the verb. This noun is the subject. With a subject plus a verb, you can make simple
sentences like: He runs. She left. They’re working. You can see that the verb can be in different
forms: past or present, simple or continuous. The verb form doesn’t change the structure
of the sentence. These are all the same: subject plus verb. Of course, these sentences aren’t very interesting. You can’t say much with short sentences
like these. Let’s add a little more information. Take the sentence he runs. What could you add after runs to make it longer? You could add an adverb of place: He runs around the park. You could add an adverb of time: He runs every morning. You could add both: He runs around the park every morning. You could add an adverb of manner: He runs slowly. You can see that you have many choices, but
your choices are also limited. In this case, you can use different kinds
of adverbs, but there are also things you can’t use. For example, you can’t use another verb
after run, you can’t use an adjective, and you can’t use a noun, or at least you can’t
use a noun with this meaning of run. This is an important point, so let’s look
at it in more detail. To build grammatically complete sentences
in English, there’s one important question: what needs to come next? For example, you saw the sentence he runs. That’s a complete sentence. You can put a full stop after runs, and it’s
correct. It’s very basic, but it’s correct. What about these: She likes
He wants We go These aren’t complete sentences. Can you explain why not? They aren’t complete, very simply, because
they aren’t finished. Look at the first sentence: She likes. She likes…what? She has to like something. He wants… What does he want? You can’t just ‘want’, you have to want
something. We go… Where? At this point, we want to teach you a word:
complement. The complement is the thing you add after
a verb to make a sentence complete. A complement can have many different forms. It can be a noun, a verb, an adjective or
an adverb. These things can be single words or phrases. For example, when we say ‘noun’, we also
mean noun phrases. So, table is a noun, and the wooden table
which my grandmother gave me is also a noun. Both nouns refer to one object—one table. For this lesson, a noun can be one word, or
a phrase. Okay, let’s practice. Look at the first sentence: she likes. How could you finish this? What are the possible complements? Pause the video and write down three endings
for your sentence. Try to use different ideas and structures. Ready? Let’s look at some possible answers. These are just our suggestions; of course
there are many possibilities! She likes strawberries. She likes swimming. She likes getting up before the sun rises. She likes to listen to music while she works. You can see that there’s more than one possible
complement: you can use a noun, a gerund (a verb with -ing which acts like a noun), a
gerund phrase, or an infinitive verb with ‘to’. So, you have many choices! However, like before, your choices are also
limited. Only certain structures are possible. The idea of complements isn’t just for the
first verb in the sentence. Many words need a complement. For example, look at one of the sentences
you just saw: She likes getting up before the sun rises. Technically, you can say She likes getting
up. It’s a grammatically complete sentence,
but you’d never say it. Why not? Because it doesn’t make any sense. You need more information. She likes getting up… when? Why? How? You need a complement after getting up to
complete the idea. She likes getting up before… Before also needs a complement. You can’t stop there. Before what? She likes getting up before the sun…. This also doesn’t work, because it doesn’t
make sense. It doesn’t make sense because the sun needs
a complement. Before the sun does what? She likes getting up before the sun rises. Ok, finally we have a sentence which is both
grammatically complete and which communicates meaning. What should you remember from this? Remember that when you use a particular word,
you have limited choices in what kind of word you use next. To speak or write in clear, correct English,
you don’t just need to know English words. You need to know what can come next. For example, with a verb like like or want,
it’s not enough to know the verb. You also need to know whether the verb needs
a complement, and what complements are—or aren’t—possible. This is why it’s good to learn vocabulary
in full phrases and sentences. That way, you’ll know how to use the words
you learn to make sentences you can use in your spoken or written English. Using what you’ve seen up to now, you can
build many simple English sentences. Let’s see how you can add more information
and more detail to these simple sentences. You can add information to a simple sentence
in two ways: you can add adjectives or adverbs. Let’s look at an example, using a sentence
we started before, but we didn’t finish: He wants… Actually, you should do some work! Pause the video, and finish this sentence
in three different ways. Start again when you have your answers. Ready? Here’s our suggestion: He wants to buy a car. Now, let’s add some description using adjectives
and adverbs. Can you see how you could add adjectives to
this sentence? You could add adjectives before the word car,
like this: He wants to buy a new car. He wants to buy a second-hand car. He wants to buy a bright red car. What about adverbs? Could you add adverbs to these sentences to
add some details? There are many possibilities; for example: Apparently, he wants to buy a new car. He wants to buy a second-hand car next month. He wants to buy a bright red car for his new
girlfriend. You can see that adverbs can be single words
or phrases. Adjectives can go before the noun they describe,
or after some verbs. Adverbs are more complicated, and can go in
many different positions. However, this is the important point: using
adjectives and adverbs like this doesn’t change whether a sentence is complete or not. If you say: He wants to buy a car. That’s a complete sentence. You can add adjectives and adverbs to it to
make it more detailed: Apparently, he wants to buy a second-hand
car for his new girlfriend. However, if a sentence is incomplete, then
you can’t make it complete by adding adjectives or adverbs: He wants to buy… This sentence is incomplete. Adding adjectives and adverbs won’t make
it complete. So, at this point, you can build a simple
sentence. You also hopefully understand something about
complements and why they’re important for making complete sentences, and now you can
also add description to a complete sentence using adjectives and adverbs. Let’s see how you can combine these
simple sentences into complex ones. First, let’s define some words. A conjunction is something which joins two
sentences or two parts of a sentence together. Words like and, but, if, although, because
or which are conjunctions. A complex sentence contains two or more parts
joined with a conjunction. These parts are called clauses. An independent clause expresses a complete
idea, and could stand by itself. A dependent clause would not make sense if
it were by itself. A dependent clause depends on an independent
clause in the same sentence in order to have meaning. Don’t worry if this is new—you don’t
need to remember everything right now. You’ll see lots of examples of these ideas
in this section and the next section, too. In this section, you’re going to learn about
complex sentences with two independent clauses. Okay, enough abstract talk! Let’s see some examples: He runs around the park every morning, so
he’s in pretty good shape. She likes strawberries, but she hardly ever
eats them. You should write to her and thank her for
the present. These are simple examples of complex sentences. Here’s your recipe: independent clause +
conjunction + independent clause. You generally need a comma at the end of the
first clause, before the conjunction, but comma rules are quite flexible in English,
so you won’t always need a comma. Look at the first example: He runs around the park every morning, so
he’s in pretty good shape. Which word is the conjunction? The conjunction is so. You can split this sentence into two full,
meaningful sentences: Let’s look at one more: She likes strawberries, but she hardly ever
eats them. Again, you can split this into two full sentences. You might think that the second sentence here isn’t complete or doesn’t make sense by itself. As it is, you’d be right. However, you can change them to strawberries,
and then it’s a complete, meaningful sentence: But, she hardly ever eats strawberries. You can keep adding conjunctions and clauses
for as long as you want: She likes strawberries, but she hardly ever
eats them, and she doesn’t earn much money, so she has to be careful how much she spends
on groceries, and fresh food is generally more expensive than canned or frozen produce,
so… Of course, just because you can, it doesn’t
mean it’s a good idea. Sentences with too many clauses are difficult
to follow, so it’s generally better to limit your complex sentences to two or, maximum,
three clauses. Now, you know how to build complex sentences
using independent clauses. What about dependent clauses? Do you remember the definition of a dependent
clause? A dependent clause is a part of a sentence
which would not make sense by itself. Let’s see an example: She’s taller than I am. This short sentence has two clauses. Can you see where the two clauses start and
end, and which one is dependent? The two clauses are: She’s taller. And: Than I am. They’re linked with the conjunction than. The second clause, than I am, is dependent. It doesn’t make sense by itself. Let’s see some other ways to build complex
sentences with dependent clauses. You can add a dependent clause with conjunctions
like if, because, although, unless, or wherever. For example: If you’re late, I’ll leave without you. He’s broke because he spent all his money
on beer. Although she spends a lot of time at work,
she doesn’t get much done. I won’t do it unless you come with me. We can meet wherever you want. Often, you can change the order of the two
clauses if you want, so you can say: If you’re late, I’ll leave without you. Or: I’ll leave without you if you’re late. Notice that there’s a comma between the
two clauses if the dependent clause is first, but not if the independent clause is first. What’s the difference between these complex
sentences and the ones you saw in part four? Here, you can’t split the sentence in two. Well, you can, but one of the two parts won’t
make sense: If you’re late. I’ll leave without you. I’ll leave without you is an independent
clause, so it makes sense by itself. But the other clause—if you’re late—is
dependent, and it doesn’t make sense by itself. It needs something more to make it complete. What other common ways are there to build
complex sentences with dependent clauses? Another common structure is relative clauses,
using relative pronouns like who, which or what to link two clauses. For example: That’s the guy who shouted at me. I have no idea what’s going on. They gave us a cake which was made from dried
beetroot. In these cases, the dependent clause goes
after the independent clause. Let’s review what you’ve learned in this
lesson. You can build a very simple sentence, with
just a verb: Work! You can add a subject and complement to make
a simple sentence: She works in a zoo. You can use adjectives and adverbs to add
description. Apparently, she works in a private zoo. You can make a complex sentence by adding
a second independent clause, with a conjunction. Apparently, she works in a private zoo, so
she must know a lot about animals. You can also make a complex sentence by adding
a dependent clause, or even several dependent clauses, again using conjunctions to connect
them. Apparently, she works in a private zoo, so
she must know a lot about animals, which surprises me because as far as I know she studied economics
at university, although I guess I could be wrong. This is a big topic, and it will take you
time to learn everything about these points. Studying conjunctions and how they work can
help you to build complex sentences which are clear and correct. Relative clauses are another useful topic
if you want to improve your sentence grammar. Learning about relative clauses can help you
to connect your ideas in complex sentences. It’s also a good idea to study verb complements
and learn what structures you can or can’t use after a verb. Remember that a lot of sentence structure
is being able to answer the question: “What needs to come next?” We hope this lesson was useful for you. Check out our website for more free English
lessons: Oxford Online English dot com. Thanks for watching! See you next time!

100 Replies to “English Sentence Structure – English Grammar Lesson”

  1. The sentence order is like This:
    Who action what how where when.

    I eat banana slowly at the restaurant in the afternoon.

  2. which video could I watch if I don't know what the adverb or adjective is? I don't know the words like theses(noun, adjective, adverb..) Thanks

  3. Dear brainliest, difference among few, a few and the few, teachers are like sun for earth planet, without them human are also like a dangerous animals, even more dangerous

  4. my question is :When I say “I have lived in this house for 10 years “Does this mean I don’t live in it anymore right now or what?

  5. Hello I really like your video. But I have a confusion in lenghty writing like essay writing for example:- tell me some points
    1) if we write first part of sentence in past is it compulsory to complete next part of sentence also in past
    2) when we write something
    ne article said: “There are now fears that Khafi may leave Big Brother Naija House pregnant as she and lovebird Gedoni continued their sizzling romance. The cameras caught them for the third time overnight as other housemates were dead asleep./ Now in this sentence first it uses simple sentence then past sentence basically I am confused the sequence of grammar usage
    I hope you get my point

  6. Thank for this very helpful video it really explains English well and it is the most well explained English video I have seen on YouTube thank you so much it really helped

  7. Is it only me that hear the guy, at 5:30, saying: She likes getting up before the sun RISE. I don't hear RISES.
    Also, the lady at 19:54 says something different than the text: 'I could be wrong' instead of 'I could be remembering it wrong'.
    Other than that, this video is very well made and informative. ❤️️😃

  8. Very informative lesson please upload a video regarding present simple tense, what is the difference between present simple n present ind tense?? I searched a lot could not find approproate ans they are not same, there are differences between them, like in present simple we can use be form modal verbs like can, might,would, should come in present simpel but we cannot use these in present ind tense, plz upload a video regarding this topic , your videos are helpful to improve grammar

  9. Thanks for the video !❤❤❤
    Can I suggest a book for English students?
    Irregular Verbs. The Ultimate Guide.
    By Bryan Feldman. / Amazon.
    A book simple in form but rich in content!
    See you😊

  10. Sir i want to become a pilot in canada or Australia after done my ielts so tall me how much band require .

  11. Thank you you guys. This lesson teaches us how to build sentences step by step meaningfully and easily than we leart in an english class

  12. Very good, but it would be more appealing if one of you spoke to address us. Additionally, include the compound-complex sentences as well.

  13. All of the videos on Oxford Online English are simple, progressive and logical, which give me a good way to learn English, and I have more confidence and passion after watched these video courses.

  14. I think you confused it must be compound sentence than complex sentence.
    A sentence with two independent clauses linked with a conjunction is a compound sentence.
    A sentence with one independent clause and one or more dependent clause linked with conjunction is complex sentence.
    A sentence with two independent clauses and one dependent is compound-complex sentence.

  15. He wants to improve his English even more.
    He wants to go outside with his new friends.
    He wants a new car but needs a job first.

  16. I have a question.
    In the video you said
    "She likes getting up before the sun rises", but what if you say "She likes to get up before the sun rises". Is it still correct? From my understanding, both sentences are correct, it is just written differently, but I'm not really sure.

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