Subject Verb Object

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In linguistic typology, subject-verb-object (SVO) is the sequence 'subject verb object ' in neutral expressions: Sam ate oranges. Languages are classified according to the dominant sequence of these constituents of sentences. This sequence is the second most common.

English, Chinese, the Romance languages, Russian, Kiswahili, and Indonesian are examples of languages that follow this pattern.

An example of this order in English is:

I played a game of Go yesterday.

In this, I is the subject, a game of Go is the object and played is the verb.

The permutations in the order of most common to rarest are:

Some languages are more complicated: in German, SOV is basic, but finite verbs appear after the subject when they appear in the main clause: Günther ist nach Berlin gefahren, Gunther has gone to Berlin (where ist is the finite verb, directly after the subject Günther, and gefahren is a non-finite verb, a past participle, in the standard verb-final position). German verbs appear before their subjects when an adverb modifying the verb, or a phrase acting as such an adverb, is at the beginning of the sentence. This is called V2 word order.

Likewise, Dutch is SOV/V2, and subordinating clauses remain SOV. For example:

Zij werkt niet omdat het zondag is

is literally "She works not because it Sunday is" rather than " is Sunday."

In Hebrew, word order is free, but alternative forms are rarely used. The most dominant sequence is Subject Verb Object. Negation or questions do not usually require an alternative sequence. For Example: סאם אכל תפוז, Sam ate an orange and סאם אכל תפוז?, Did Sam eat an orange? differ only by the intonation when said and by the question mark when written.

See also

eo:Subjekto Verbo Objekto ja:SVO型 pl:SVO


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