Teaching Sentence Structure to ESL Students

Teaching sentence structure to ESL students doesn’t have to be…

Teaching sentence structure to ESL students doesn’t have to be complex.

Sentence Structure in English

a picture of a book page that is written in English
Photo by Finn Mund on Unsplash

In English, there are four types of sentence structure, each explained below:

Simple Sentence Structure

A simple sentence consists of one independent clause. The subject is accompanied by a verb as well as an independent clause that expresses an entire thought.

Students are able to grasp and construct simple sentences in their own way, which is not surprising. Children often write these types of sentences on their own, and they usually follow the well-known Subject-Verb-Object pattern.

Compound Sentence Structure

A compound sentence consists of at least two independent clauses that are joined by a semicolon or conjunction. You can form a sentence by each of these clauses.

Complex Sentence Structure

In complex sentences, you combine an independent clause and a dependent clause. The dependent clause starts with a subordinate verb or relative pronoun and contains a subject and verb. The verb does not express a full thought.

Compound-Complex Structure

A compound-complex sentence consists of at least two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.

One thing to note here is that people use dependent clauses frequently, but they are incorrect in syntax. Dependent clauses on their own are also called sentence fragments or incomplete sentences and are grammatical errors in English writing.

Looking at these four types without an example would puzzle even native English speakers, let alone students. That’s why, even though we went over four types of sentence structures, teaching it this way would be a disaster.

Teaching Sentence Structure to ESL Students

When teaching sentence structure to your students, keep these tips in mind:

1. Start Simple

English sentence structures follow a simple rule of thumb at their very core. Firstly, we have a subject (who or what the sentence is about) and then a verb (what happens to that subject).

We teach beginners a variety of words. Some are nouns (such as things in their immediate environment), and some are actions.

The best way to teach sentence structure is to find pictures of people or objects and images of actions. After that, have the students combine these two.

2. Go Step by Step

Once they have a basic subject + verb down, you can introduce subject + subject + object structure. Building on what they know is key to this.

3. Go Over Individual Parts of a Sentence

Speech is similar in many languages, at least in the way different languages express nouns (concepts, places, people, events, etc.). An action is a verb in almost all languages.

Since they are the same, or at least similar, your students will have an easier time understanding the structure.

Frequently asked questions

What are the parts of sentence structure?

The subject, the verb, and the complement make up a sentence.

How do you improve sentence structure and grammar?

If you want to structure sentences well, start by saying the subject, avoid passive voices, and focus on clarity. Avoid writing sentences that express only partial thoughts or that fuse too many ideas together.

What are 4 types of sentence structure?

There are four types of sentences: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex. Subordinate clauses and subordinate clausees define each sentence.

How do you identify the structure of a sentence?

  • What is a sentence?
  • One independent clause is a simple sentence.
  • Two (or more) independently joined clauses are a compound sentence.
  • An independent clause is combined with a dependent clause to create a complex sentence.

What are the 5 sentence structures?

  • Subject-Verb-Adjective She’s charming
  • Subject-Verb-Object. Cats are petted by the girl.
  • Subject-Verb. The boy plays. Jack eats.
  • Subject-Verb-Adverb. She laughs loudly.
  • Subject-Verb-Noun. That’s me, the teacher.

What are some good sentence starters?

  • Obviously
  • Namely
  • Of course
  • Undoubtedly
  • Certainly
  • Above all
  • As usual
  • Indeed

How do you teach sentence structure to ESL students?

English students can begin teaching sentence structure by providing images of people or objects and images of actions and having them put them together. If the students get this (which usually does not take a lot of time), you should also do a lesson on personal pronouns.

How do you teach students sentence structure?

  • Do not overlook wrong facts.
  • Sequence sentence types in a scaffolded manner.
  • Practice with mini lessons on sentence types.
  • Give it time
  • Incorporate some fun
  • Educate yourself by requiring skill application.
  • Objects and verbs should be the focus.

How do you teach students to write complex sentences?

The best way to teach Complex Sentences to the students is to introduce Independent and Dependent Clauses, to use the 5 Ws, subordinate conjunction, sandwich sentences, and fun games. Children’s writing can improve with these strategies.

How does ESL improve sentence structure?

  • Make sure the information within the sentence is clear.
  • Use transitional words
  • Subordinate clauses require care.
  • Use active voice
  • Use active verbs
  • Follow traditional grammatical practices.

Why is sentence structure important?

Having a clear representation of the writer’s meaning to the reader is crucial to a successful sentence. Style and grammar should be used appropriately as this helps ensure clarity.

How do you teach sentences for beginners?

Students write all the letters they know on one, samples of words on the next, and finally, together, write some sentences on the third. Describe what letters do to make words and words to make sentences. You can have your students sort letters, words, and sentences.

What are the rules of sentence structure?

Most of the time, the subject of the sentence comes first, the verb comes second, and the objects come last. The verb must also be singular if the subject is a singular subject. Whenever the subject is plural, the verb must be plural.

What are the 7 sentence structures?

Subject–Verb–Object. Subject–Verb–Adjective. Subject–Verb–Adverb. Subject–Verb–Noun.

What is the basic structure of a sentence?

The subject, the verb, and (often, but not always) the object are the basic components of a sentence. A noun is usually used when discussing a person, place, or thing. The verb (or predicate) usually follows the subject and indicates an action or state of being.

Teaching Sentence Structure to ESL Students

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

5 Grammar Strategies for ELL Students

English Language Learners or Ell students are people over the age of five. They are actively learning the English Language…

May 23, 2022

8 ESL Dictation Exercises for Students

As an English speaker, you may have had dictation lessons in grade school. This was where the teacher read you…

May 23, 2022

An Interesting Guide on Creative Approaches for ESL Methods

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) requires you to think of creative lecture strategies. You have to know different…

May 23, 2022

A Guide on Creative ESL Writing Activities

If you want to learn about some of the best tips about ESL writing activities, you might find this article…

May 23, 2022

A Basic Guide on Interesting ESL Conversation Practice Worksheets

Studying English as a Second Language (ESL) does not only focus on the concept of writing. It also means you…

May 23, 2022

How to Quickly and Effectively Learn English Languages

With more than a quarter of the world speaking English, there are countless tools on how to quickly and effectively…

May 23, 2022

ESL Essay Writing: 7 Tips for Success

ESL essay writing is crucial for students who must cope with organizing their thoughts and building their arguments using the…

May 23, 2022

Top 5 Creative ESL Activities for Kids

Our top five creative ESL activities for kids is one that every teacher should be familiar with. These activities will…

May 23, 2022

What Do You Need to Be An ESL Teacher?

ESL teachers specialize in helping non-native speakers of all ages and levels learn English. This includes the grammar, vocabulary and…

May 19, 2022