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Old English Grammar & Syntax

 

Word Order in Modern English

  

         Word order in Modern English is fairly rigid, following, in the main, the SVO pattern: Subject (S), Verb (V), and Object (O)

 

         For example:

 

S+V+O

the man saw the woman

 

         Other possible patterns lead to ambiguity, as it is unclear who saw whom:

 

S+O+V

the man the woman saw

O+S+V

the woman the man saw

O+V+S

the woman saw the man

V+O+S

saw the woman the man

V+S+O

saw the man the woman

 

         With inflectional endings, we avoid ambiguity when the word order changes

 

         If 'the man' always has a subject ending and 'the woman' always has an object ending, then there will be no problem, whichever order is used:

 

the man-SUBJECT saw the woman-OBJECT
the woman-OBJECT saw the man-SUBJECT

 

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OLD ENGLISH GRAMMAR & SYNTAX

  Old English vs. Modern English

  Word Order in Modern English

  Old English Syntax

  Examples of Old English Word Order

  Characteristics of OE Word Order

  Change in Word Order Patterns

OLD ENGLISH

  The Origins of Old English

  Main Influences on Old English

  The Lord's Prayer in Old English

  Beowulf Home

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