Let's talk sentence patterns

No matter what curriculum you may use for grammar, there are basic sentence patterns that must be mastered in order to parse and diagram a sentence. Grammar Nerds Club uses this set of 7 patterns:  

  • Subject + Intransitive Verb
  • Subject + Transitive Verb + Direct Object
  • Subject + Transitive Verb + Indirect Object + Direct Object
  • Subject + Linking Verb + Predicate Nominative
  • Subject + Linking Verb + Predicate Adjective
  • Subject + Transitive Verb + Direct Object + Object Complement Noun
  • Subject + Transitive Verb + Direct Object + Object Complement Adjective

    Every sentence you'll encounter fits one (or more) of these patterns no matter how simple or complex the sentence may be. But how do these sentence patterns relate to Brashcards? We're glad you asked! 

    Once you've diagrammed a sentence, all you have to do is look at the main baseline of the diagram to identify its pattern. Although a sentence may have multiple modifiers (e.g. adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases) that branch off the baseline, a student will easily be able to see all of the pieces that make up the heart of the sentence and quickly identify which of the 7 patterns it is.

    The diagram above from our Ancient History Brashcards set illustrates a compound-complex sentence that has 4 separate clauses representing 3 of the sentence patterns. Although it's fairly complex with multiple modifiers and even a gerund, notice the light grey designations for sentence patterns under each verb, which are shown in blue. These sentence patterns clearly reflect what you find on the baseline of each clause:

    • Augustus Caesar became emperor (Subject + Linking Verb + Predicate Nominative)
    • who was Octavian (Subject + Linking Verb + Predicate Nominative)
    • he commanded taxing (Subject + Transitive Verb + Direct Object)
    • which resulted (Subject + Intransitive Verb)

    So identifying sentence patterns is easy once you complete your diagram, and Brashcards make it simple to check your work! Next time, we'll discuss how the color-coding of Brashcards helps students easily identify parts of speech!


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