12 Guides for Constructing Impeccable Sentences


Knowledge of the structure of a language helps the speaker or learner of a language to use the language competently. This knowledge is basic to the speaker’s ability to use language efficiently. The spoken form of the language, to which several sections of this article are devoted, operates on the knowledge of the structure of the language. The meaning that we seek to convey by speaking a language also depends on familiarity with the structure of the language. The structure is basic to any language, and languages are different from one another because they have different structures. Moreover, since written language is a representation of spoken language, it follows that the written form of a language also ultimately depends on the structure. If you take away structure from a language, you have nothing left. On the other hand, if you master the structure of a language – in our case the English Language – you are on the way to speaking and writing the language correctly.

It has been observed that most of the students who sit for the senior secondary school examinations fail the English Language every year just because they do not understand sentence structures. They could not write good sentences. The fact remains that without the knowledge of sentence structures or constructions, students cannot write good essays or letters. Also, The answering comprehension and summary will be weak.

Therefore, it is very important that all the students learn how good sentences are formed. Any good sentence must satisfy the elements discussed below. Learn the elements and structures.

It has been observed that most of the students who sit for the senior secondary school examinations fail the English Language every year just because they could not write good sentences.

The fact remains that without the knowledge of sentence constructions, students cannot write a good essay and letter, and even summary and comprehension since students are asked to write their answers in simple and clear sentences.

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Therefore, students will be exposed here to how good sentences are needed for composition and others are formed. There are five elements of a good sentence. They are stated below.

Element of sentences


  1. the subject – S;
  2. the verb – V;
  3. the object – O = (Oi) stands for object indirect but (Od) stands for object direct;
  4. the complement – C; and
  5. the adjunct – A.

Sentence Structures

Any good sentence must satisfy the elements above, especially the subject and the verb which are obligatory. Let us consider them one after the other.

1. The sentence may be SV, e.g.

(a)         He        danced.

(b)        Those students in the classroom   are singing.

2. The sentence may be SVO, e.g.

(a)         The children   ate   food.

(b)        They   have finished   their work.

3. The sentence may be SVOiOd, e.g.

(a)         Toyin   gave   me   a pen.

(b)        The woman   borrowed   students   books.

4.  The sentence may be SVC, e.g.

(a)         She   is   a science student.

(b)        I   learnt   that everybody must be there.

5.  The sentence may be SVOC, e.g.

(a)         The principal   made   Sola   a course rep.

(b)        We   elected   Dr Bolu   the president.

6.  The sentence may be SVA, e.g.

(a)         The man   eats   greedily.

(b)        The students   walk   fast.

7.  The sentence may be SVOA, e.g.

(a)         They   are singing   a song   melodiously.

(b)        I   spoke   English language   eloquently.

8.  The sentence may be SVCA, e.g.

(a)         I   learnt   that everybody must be there   tomorrow.

(b)        Bola   is   a senior prefect   in her school.

9.  The sentence may be ASV, e.g.

(a)         Suddenly,   the man   died.

(b)        Joyfully   she   dances.

10.  The sentence may be ASVO, e.g.

(a)         Out of mind,   the boy   slapped   his father.

(b)        This morning,   my mother   bought   my books.

11.  The sentence may be ASVC, e.g.

(a)         Fortunately,   you   are   an associate.

(b)        Disappointingly,   she   is   a fool.

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12.  The sentence may be SAVO, e.g.

(a)         I   really   love   you.

(b)        The students   carefully   wrote   their examinations.

The adjunct can occur more than once in a sentence; but make sure that any sentence you want to write satisfies any of the elements above.

Make sure you study them very carefully and also apply them in your examinations. Well-formed sentences will bring about good essays and letters.

Your knowledge of good sentence constructions will make your score in summary and comprehension high.


With your knowledge of sentences, then answer the following questions:

  1. With illustrations, define the concept of sentences.
  2. Divide the following sentences into the subject and the predicate (SP).

(a)         She is there.

(b)        This is a man.

(c)         Moses stopped his car abruptly.

(d)        The students studied in a big university.

(e)         All the worshippers in the church have been coming out.

  1. With relevant examples, discuss the following types of sentences:

(a)         A simple sentence

(b)        A compound sentence

(c)         A complex sentence

(d)        A compound-complex sentence

(e)         A multiple-compound sentence

(f)         A declarative sentence

(g)        An imperative sentence

(h)        A yes-no question type

(i)         A Wh-Question type

(j)         An exclamatory sentence

  1. In the analysis of the sentence, bring out the title of the following structures:

(a)         S –

(b)        V –

(c)         O –

(d)       Oi– Od __

(e)         C –

(f)       CS – CO _

(g)        A –

  1. Construct two sentences that satisfy each of the following sentence structures:

(a)         SV

(b)        SVO

(c)         SVOO

(d)        SVC

(e)         SVCO

(f)         SVOA

(g)        SVCA

(h)        ASV

(i)         ASVO

(j)         ASVC

(k)        SAVO

Author: Deola Adelakun

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