Sentence Structure in the Active Voice

Sentence Structure in the Active Voice


One morning, I shot an elephant in my
pyjamas. How he got in my pyjamas, I don’t know. Hello everybody. The joke about shooting an elephant in your pyjamas is a great example of what can go wrong when you don’t follow the simple rules of English language sentence structure and in this video we’re going to take a look at those rules. Consider this sentence: This sentence represents how almost all sentences in English are constructed: ‘Subject’ followed by ‘verb’ followed by ‘direct object’ The subject is the noun that is the main focus of the sentence. The verb is the action that happens and
the direct object is the thing that receives the action of the verb. Changing that order, for example: “the ball the man kicks” doesn’t really create a nice image
in English. If you want to add more information, such as a time frame or an indirect object, it’s better to add that at the beginning or at the end of the sentence and not break the structure of subject, verb, direct object. For example: There are only two occasions when
we break this structure. The first is when we use adverbs of frequency, such as ‘always’ and ‘never’ and here is a link to a video that I made explaining what adverbs of frequency are and how we use them. The second occasion when we break
that structure is when we want to place strong emphasis on the part of speech that is breaking that structure. For example: if you say, you are putting very strong emphasis on the fact that you will not clean your room today. Finally, you should always keep the clauses of a sentence close to the part of the sentence to which they refer. If you do that, you will sound less confusing. All of which, brings us back to the ‘elephant in the pyjamas’ joke. Because the wearing of the pajamas really refers to the subject of the sentence we should keep that clause close to the subject so, the sentence should really be: perfect English but just not really funny Don’t forget to subscribe and check ‘How To Teach English’ out on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks for watching. Bye-bye now.

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