Understanding the standard subject-verb-object order is a basic principle in English grammar. Normally, the subject comes first, followed by the verb and lastly the object. But in certain instances, subjects come after the verbs, which is a departure from usual patterns that can cause confusion for some English learners. In this tutorial, we will explore these scenarios and provide examples to help you comprehend the rules and adopt correct usage in your writing and speaking.
When Do Subjects Come After Verbs?
Generally, subjects come after verbs in interrogative sentences, passive voice sentences, and in some conditional phrases and clauses that begin with 'here' or 'there'. Moreover, this rule is also applicable in certain types of exclamation sentences.
Interrogative sentences are questions and usually start with an auxiliary verb. In these cases, the subject typically comes after the verb. Here are some examples:
Passive voice sentences often have their subject coming after the verb because attention is given more to the action rather than who is doing it. Examples include:
Sentence Beginning With 'Here' and 'There'
Positions of subjects and verbs are sometimes reversed in sentences beginning with here and there to introduce or draw attention towards something.
Conditional clauses often start with 'were', 'had', or 'should', and such initial placement causes the subject to follow the verb.
Exclamation sentences often begin with 'what' or 'how'. These structures signify admiration, surprise or other strong emotions. Moreover, these sentence structures also place the subject after the verb.
Understanding the Exceptions
While it is important to grasp the common instances when a subject comes after a verb, it is equally crucial to understand exceptions to these rules. Not all sentences starting with 'here', 'there', and 'it', or questions, have the subject following the verb. Here are few exceptions:
Forming sentences with verb preceding the subject
Now that we have understood the common instances and rules, forming sentences where the verb precedes the subject would be simple. Start with the verb or the auxiliary verb, followed by the subject and then the main verb or information.
Switching the typical subject-verb order may give rise to some common mistakes that you should be aware of.
Incorrect Subject-Verb Agreement
Many English learners make mistakes with subject-verb agreement when the structure is unusual. Always identify the subject clearly and ensure the verb matches in terms of singular or plural form.
Missing or Extra Words
Mistakes of missing or extra words can often occur because sentence structures when the subject follows the verb can sometimes be a bit more complicated.
The use of subjects coming after verbs might seem unusual and confusing at first, but with practice and a clear understanding of when to apply the rules, it becomes easier. Strengthen your English language command by mastering these structures in addition to the regular subject-verb-object order.