The Ten Sentence Patterns with Examples

Martha Kolln, Robert Funk: Understanding English Grammar,
5th ed. Boston (Allyn & Bacon, 1998).

I. Fido is in his kennel.  The students are upstairs.

Subject/ BE/adverb of time or place


II. Fido is tired.  The students are diligent.
            Subject/ BE/ predicate adjective


III. Fido was a beautiful dog.  The students are scholars.

Subject/ BE/ predicate nominative


IV. Fido seems anxious.  The students look diligent.
             Subject/ linking verb/ predicate adjective

V. Fido proved a champion.  The students became scholars.  

            Subject/ linking verb/ predicate nominative


VI. Fido slept.  The students rested.

            Subject/ intransitive verb


VII. Fido chased squirrels.  The students study their books.

            Subject/ transitive verb/ direct object


VIII. Fido won Fred a prize.  The students gave him their books.

            Subject/ transitive verb/ direct object/ indirect object


IX. Fido found it upsetting.  The students consider him intelligent.
            Subject/ transitive verb/ direct object/
             objective complement (adjective)


X. Fido feared Bo the alpha dog.  The students thought it a challenge.
            Subject/ transitive verb/ direct object/
             objective complement (noun phrase)


Hints for remembering the patterns:

Patterns I-III are all built around some form of the verb BE.

Types II, IV, and IX end with adjectives; III, V, and X with a noun phrase (NP).

The following patterns are in pairs: II and III, IV and V, IX and X.
  The first pattern in each pair ends with an adjective, the second with a noun phrase.

Patterns II and IV and Patterns III and V are the same, except that Patterns II and III
  are built around some form of the verb BE, while Patterns IV and V are built around
  other linking verbs.  It is possible to form a sentence with an adverb of time or place
  with BE (Pattern I) but not with other linking verbs.

Pattern VI is in a class by itself.

Patterns VII and VIII are identical, except that Pattern VIII has an indirect object