Getting started on ancient Greek
Getting started on ancient Greek

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Getting started on ancient Greek

2 Sentence patterns

Behind a sentence like ‘the dog chases the cat’ lies a simple pattern:

Subject + Verb + Object

The dog (Subject) chases (Verb) the cat (Object)

The verb describes an action (‘chases’, ‘eats’, ‘speaks’) or a state (‘is’, ‘seems’, ‘rests’).

The subject is in charge of the verb. If the verb is ‘chases’, the subject is doing the chasing.

The object is on the receiving end of the verb. If the verb is ‘chases’, the object is the person or thing being chased.

The sentence might contain other words, but at its heart lies a simple pattern:

(Every morning) the (yapping) dog (angrily) chases the (startled) cat (out of the garden and across the road).

The dog chases the cat.

In English, subject, verb and object are expected in that order. Languages that adopt this order are sometimes referred to as ‘Subject Verb Object (SVO)’ languages. Knowing the pattern allows predictions to be made about the way a sentence might unfold. Some continuations can be ruled in and others excluded.

Activity 2 Complete the sentence

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Choose the items that could fill the gap and complete the following sentence:

The dog chases ___________ .


the elephant


[a subject]


the kangaroo


an object

The correct answers are a, c and d.


An object would complete this sentence. ‘The elephant’ or ‘the kangaroo’ could play this role. The sentence already has a subject, and, anyway, with the arrival of the verb the moment for a subject has now passed, at least in English.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371