How to Teach Sentence Structure

Teaching the structure of sentences is the first step towards improving students’ writing skills. As with any topic, you can teach sentence structure by teaching the basic grammar components first. It is important that students have a basic knowledge about parts of a sentence and their relation to each other before learning about the structure of sentences. Once you have taught these basic grammar concepts, you can start to teach sentence structure using activities and games. 

Teach the Basics

You can start the lesson by explaining how words function. Use some fun activities to show how words relate to each other. For example, you can have students to act out short sentences.

Teach the students parts of speechnouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. Use the examples you used earlier and have students identify different parts of speech.

Next, teach them about subject and predicate. Help them to break the sentence into parts and identify the features in each part.

Teach Different Sentence Structures

Once the students have learnt different elements in a sentence, you can start to teach different sentence structures. You can use the things students already know to teach this. Ask students to write down few simple sentences. Then divide them into few groups and make them identify different parts of speech in the sentences they have written. Tell them to note the order of the different parts of speech and group the sentences according to it.

For example,

He ate rice. (noun + verb + object)

These flowers are beautiful. (noun + verb + adjective)

Write these sentence structures on the board and explain.

Use Games and Activities 

In addition, you can also use different games to make the lesson more clear and interesting.

How to Teach Sentence Structure

Complete the Story

Ask the first student to make a short sentence with two words. Then the next student can add another word (adjective, adverb). The students continue adding elements to the sentence so as to keep it meaningful. You can use this game to teach compound and complex sentences as well. For example,

  1. Mary sleeps.
  2. Mary sleeps soundly.
  3. Mary sleeps soundly on the sofa.
  4. Mary sleeps soundly on sofa every afternoon.
  5. Mary sleeps soundly on the sofa every afternoon, but yesterday she couldn’t sleep.
  6. Mary sleeps soundly on the sofa every afternoon, but yesterday she couldn’t sleep because she had visitors.

Arrange the Scrambled Sentences

Write scrambled sentences on the board and ask them to complete. You can divide the class into two and have a competition to see who arranges the maximum sentences in the minimum time.

the – back – was  – baby – her – lying – on

The baby was lying on her back.

 lucky – was – day – today – her 

Today was her lucky day.

Note Cards

Write an equal number of nouns, verbs, and modifiers on cards. Give one card to each student. Let the students wander around the class and find two other students who have a verb and a modifier to make a meaningful sentence. 

Make Sentences using Students

Write different words in cards. Give one card to each student. Ask them to hold the cards in front of them. When you read out a sentence, students have to quickly arrange their positions to make that sentence. Try different sentences.

These games and activities will make learning more fun and help students to memorize the lesson better.

Image Courtesy: 

“BMS classrooms” By Jens Rötzsch – Jens Rötzsch (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.