These two sentences have opposite meanings:

Brazil beat Spain 4-2. Brazil won and Spain lost.

Spain beat Brazil 4-2. Spain won and Brazil lost.

The form of the words in these sentences cannot help us to understand that their meanings are different. Only the order of the words tells us the meaning. Word order is very important in English. Here are some basic rules.

In statements, the subject always comes before the verb.

[s]:Subject, [v]:Verb

[s] John [v] woke up.
[s] He [v] could not sleep after that.
Each night[s] he [v] had the same problem.
[s] His arm [v] was itchy.
[s] The scratching [v]was driving him crazy.

In questions a part of the verb must come before the subject (Unit 9).

Only adverbs (Unit 64) can go between subject and verb, especially
A. frequency adverbs (Unit 73):
[s] They never [v] have time to exercise.

B. these words: almost, already, also, just, nearly and still
[s] They also [v] work in the evenings.

No other kind of word can go in this position.

If subject and verb alone are not enough to complete the sentence, the other part of the sentence goes after them (never before them).

For example: John was, John bought, John gave, John put

are not good sentences by themselves. They need something else to complete them.


[C] John was a dietician.
[W] John a dietician was.
[W] A dietician John was.

[C] John wrote a menu.
[W] John a menu wrote.
[W] A menu John wrote.

[C] John gave Maria the menu.
[W John Maria the menu gave.
[W] Maria the menu John gave.

[C] John posted the menu in the kitchen.
[W] John the menu in the kitchen posted.
[W] The menu in the kitchen John posted.

NOTICE: Different verbs need different kinds of words to complete a sentence (Units 62 and 63).

If we want to put in some extra information about the sentence, it must go at the beginning or the end (not anywhere in the middle).


[B] John was a dietician [E] in Edmonton for five years.

[E] As a favor [B] John wrote a menu [E] to give to Maria.

[B] John gave Maria the menu [E] last week.

[B] Maria prepared a meal from the menu [E] yesterday.

[E] Since June [B] Maria had wanted to eat a more healthy diet.

[E] In the end [B] Maria had more energy.

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Exercise 7.1
Exercise 7.2