The English language has seven basic sentence (or clause) patterns. Examples are:
- John / laughed. (SV)*
- John / kissed / Jane. (SVO)
- John / is / tall. (SVC)
- John / gave / Jane / a present. (SVOO)
- John / made / Jane / angry. (SVOC)
- John / sat / up. (SVA)
- John / put / the bag / down. (SVOA)
Most simple and complex (but not compound) clauses are of one of these patterns no matter how long the clauses are. For example, the following two sentences are essentially of the same pattern.
- Jane / bought / fruit. (SVO)
- My long lost sister Jane / has been buying / a variety of fruit. (SVO)
* There are five sentence class terms: S = subject, V = verb, O = object, C = complement, and A = adverbial. The slash (/) denotes the boundary between syntactic terms.
Reference: Everyday Grammar by John Seely.