buy levitra

Polls

What is most useful to you? You may select more than one answer.

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Arts & Letters Daily

QuickBooks

Grammar Tutor: Sentence Order

You have, no doubt, been reminded many times that you should use the standard sentence order whenever you write. Once again, the standard sentence order is: ‘subject-verb-object/predicate adjective/predicate noun. So, why am I about to introduce different sentence orders? To answer this question, let’s read the following paragraph and then read a revised version of this paragraph where the sentence order has been varied.

Mary and Jim, who live in Vancouver, usually take the highway up to Kamloops and across the mountains to Calgary to visit their parents.  They are interested in visiting a friend in Kelowna on their way to Calgary this year. Mary is wondering whether their trip through Kelowna would be longer and take a lot more time. She Googled the trip through Kelowna and discovered that it would take about 40 minutes longer to travel to Calgary through Kelowna. Google also showed that the detour through Kelowna would increase the distance by about 40 kilometers.

Let’s look at the same paragraph where the sentences have been varied.

Mary and Jim, who live in Vancouver, usually take the highway up to Kamloops and across the mountains to Calgary to visit their parents.  This year (phrase), they are interested in visiting a friend in Kelowna on their way to Calgary.

Is (verb) the trip through Kelowna longer than through Kamloops? asked Jim. So (adverb), Mary Googled the trip through Kelowna and discovered that it would take about 40 minutes longer to travel to Calgary through Kelowna. When Mary checked the distance of the detour through Kelowna (clause), she discovered that it increased the distance by about 40 kilometers.

Why did I make the sentence order changes?
First, let’s look at adding a phrase before the subject:

          This year (phrase), they are interested in visiting a friend in Kelowna on their way to Calgary.

The standard order for this sentence is: They are interested in visiting a friend in Kelowna on their way to Calgary this year.

I brought the phrase ‘This year’ to the front of the sentence because I want to emphasize what is different about the trip to Calgary this year. It is still the same trip to their parents in Calgary, except that ‘this year’ they would like to take a detour to Kelowna as part of the trip. I want the reader to note this difference.

Second, let’s look at placing the predicate before the subject:

Is (predicate before the subject) the trip through Kelowna longer than through Kamloops? asked Jim.

The standard order for this sentence is: The trip through Kelowna is longer than through Kamloops.

Jim asked the question because he is concerned about the length of the trip since he will be the driver. Questions are often started with the verb.

Third, let’s look at placing an adverb before the subject:

          So (adverb before the subject), Mary Googled the trip through Kelowna and discovered that it would take about 40 minutes longer to travel to Calgary through Kelowna.

The standard order for this sentence is: Mary Googled the trip through Kelowna and discovered that it would take about 40 minutes longer to travel to Calgary through Kelowna.

Why did I add the word ‘So’, which is an adverb, at the beginning of the sentence? I wanted to connect Mary’s comment tightly to Jim’s question.

Fourth, let’s look at placing a clause before the subject:  

          When Mary checked the distance of the detour through Kelowna (clause before the subject), she discovered that it increased the distance to Calgary by about 40 kilometers.

The standard order for this sentence is: Mary discovered that the distance of the detour through Kelowna increased the distance to Calgary by about 40 kilometers.

I placed the clause before the subject because I wanted to emphasize that Mary checked the distance carefully … she didn’t just make a guess.

In addition to the reasons I gave for using a variety of sentence orders, I use them to take the monotony out of the paragraph. I try to make my paragraphs as interesting as possible. Changing the sentence order is one way of doing that.

That’s all … thanks for listening.

************************

Try the following activities to find out how well you understand how to use sentence order:

After you have watched this Tutorial, go to www.sponsoravillage.ca, for assignments on sentence order.

Go to GRAMMAR in the top navigation bar and click on Sentence Order.

 

To send any questions you may have about grammar, go to www.sponsoravillage.ca and click on ASK Dr. OTTO. I will reply to your questions as quickly as possible.