IELTS Grammar Sentence Structure

One important component of scoring in IELTS Writing and Speaking is Sentential range or putting it simply, a range of sentence structure that one can use. Before going on to explain the different sentence structure, let us understand what a sentence is.

Ielts Grammar Sentence Structure

What is a sentence?

For a sentence to be a sentence, it needs to fulfil three basic criteria:

1. It has to be a group of words.

2. It has to give complete meaning

3. It has to be of the SVO order.

Let us look into each in detail.

1. It has to be a group of words.

A sentence is always made up of a group of words.

For example,

My exam is on the 26th of April.

I am hungry.

Columbus discovered America.

If you look at all the above examples, each one is made of more than one word.

2. It has to give complete meaning

A group of words is considered a sentence only when it gives complete meaning. If you look at the above examples, all the sentences carry a form of complete meaning, so unless your sentence is giving complete meaning, keep writing.

A sentence needs to carry a complete meaning. Now one might argue that a simple word like ‘Sleep’ is complete in its meaning. Yes, it is, but note that ‘Sleep’ when simply put followed by a. like ‘Sleep.’ is a command and not a sentence.

Pushing further, the group of words like ‘in the corner’ adheres to the first criteria, gives you some sense, but not complete sense and thus cannot be considered a sentence.

3. It has to be of the SVO order.

All English sentences are of the order- SVO. What do I mean by this? All sentences in English start with a subject- S, followed by a verb – V and finally an object- O.

For example,

The sun rises in the east.

Red is my favourite colour.

Donald Trump is the president of the United States of America

In all of the above sentences, ‘the sun’, ’red’, and ’Donald Trump’ are the subjects of the sentences, in the sense that, they are the topic of the sentences. Each of the subjects are followed by doing verbs, otherwise called as ‘verbs’. The verbs are followed by ‘objects’ which give information about the subject.

Note: Questions in English are not of this order and will be discussed in a separate article. Sentences can sometimes get rid of Objects, when the Subject and Verb can independently form complete meaning.

Now that we know what a sentence is and is not, let us look into the different kinds of sentences. There are three kinds of sentences in English:

1. Simple Sentence

The structure of a simple sentence, as the name suggests is simple: SVO. For example,

He went to get fish from the market.

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My mother and father own a house in Delhi.

All of the above sentences carry either one word or one phrase as a subject, a verb and an object.

2. Compound Sentence

In linguistics or chemistry, compounding stands for joining or combining, and as the name suggests, a compound sentence is a sentence which is made up of two or more sentences.

The structure of a compound sentence is SVO+SVO.

For example,

a. I went to the market and he went to the bank.

b. My mother cooks in the morning and then goes to work.

In the above example (a), “I went to work” is the first sentence and “he went to the bank” is the second sentence and both are combined together with the help of a conjunction, ‘and’.

In the sentence (b), “My mother cooks in the morning” is the first sentence and “goes to work” is the second sentence wherein the subject of the second sentence ‘she’ is implied from (a).

So the structure of (a) is SVO+SVO and the structure of (b) is SVO+VO. The + sign is to be replaced by a conjunction.

A few examples of conjunctions are:

And, but, because, therefore, nevertheless, or, neither-nor, hence, since, etc.

3. Complex Sentence

As the name suggests, complex sentences are pretty complex in nature. Before we go into the details of a complex sentence, let us understand what a ‘clause’ is.

A clause is a group of words that has the structure of a sentence (SVO), but does not make complete sense. So the conditions 1 and 3 of being a sentence is fulfilled, but not 2. For example, in the sentence given below

Ramesh, who is a good painter, is coming to town today.

Ramesh= Subject

Is coming= Verb

To town today= Object.

When written “Ramesh is coming to town today” is a complete sentence on its own. However, the part “who is a good painter” without a question mark (?) does not make complete sense.

who is a good painter” is a perfect example of a clause where ‘who’ is the subject, ‘is’ is the verb and ‘a good painter’ is the object, but however, does not have a complete meaning and thus, cannot be a sentence. It needs the subject Ramesh to form meaning and thus, is dependant on the subject of the main sentence.

The insertion of a dependent clause within a sentence makes it a complex sentence. The structure of the above sentence is SsvoVO.

Similarly, complex sentences can also be formed having a structure SVOsvo.

For example,

Ramesh is coming to Delhi today which is the capital of India.

In the above sentence, “Ramesh is coming to Delhi today” is one sentence (SVO) and “which is the capital of India” is another SVO but does not carry full meaning and thus is a clause.

Some other examples of complex sentences are

The map illustrates the town of Queensland, which is situated in the western coast of North America, is densely populated.

A certain section of people who believe in child marriage think that it is a sign of prosperity to get their children married at a very young age.

To sum up, it is very important to exhibit these variations in terms of sentence structures to score 8+ in IELTS. So the next time you practice speaking or writing, please experiment with sentences to get comfortable with each.

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IELTS Grammar Sentence Structure
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IELTS Grammar Sentence Structure
One important component of scoring in IELTS Writing and Speaking is Sentential range or putting it simply, a range of sentence structure that one can use. Before going on to explain the different sentence structure, let us understand what a sentence is.
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