Subject Verb Object

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In linguistic typology, subject-verb-object (SVO) is a sentence structure where the subject comes first, the verb second, and the object third. Languages may be classified according to the dominant sequence of these elements. It is the second most common order found in the world, after SOV, and together, they account for more than 75% of the world's languages.[1] It is also the most common order developed in Creole languages, suggesting that it may be somehow more initially 'obvious' to human psychology.[2]

Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, English, Finnish, Greek, Hausa, Hebrew, Javanese, Kashmiri, Khmer, Latvian, Luganda, Macedonian, Polish, Quiche, Rotuman, Russian, Swahili, Thai, Vietnamese and Yoruba are examples of languages that can follow an SVO pattern. The label is often used for ergative languages which do not have subjects, but have an Agent Verb Object order. The Romance languages also follow SVO construction, except for certain constructions in many of them in which a pronoun functions as the object (e.g. French: je t'aime, Italian: (io) ti amo or Spanish: (yo) te amo, lit. I you love). All of the Scandinavian languages follow this order also but change to VSO when asking a question. Arabic and Hebrew will occasionally use an SVO pattern with sentences with subject pronouns (e.g. Arabic أنا أحبك, Hebrew: אני אוהב אותך, lit. "I love you."). However the subject pronouns here are grammatically unnecessary and most other constructions suggest that both languages are VSO languages at their core, though Modern Hebrew generally uses SVO construction. Other SVO languages, such as English, can also use an OSV structure in certain literary styles, such as poetry.

An example of SVO order in English is:

In this, Andy is the subject, ate is the verb, oranges is the object.

Some languages are more complicated: Russian allows all possible combinations SVO, OVS, SOV, OSV, VSO, VOS. Changing the word order influences the nuance of the meaning. Usually the last word in a sentence is emphasized. But other implications are possible. Varying word order is very common in Russian.[citation needed] Finnish word order is similar. While SVO is considered "regular," it often changes to emphasize a different part of the sentence. In Polish, a word/phrase can be brought to the front or, less commonly, put to the back of a sentence or clause to add emphasis e.g. "Roweru ci nie kupię" (I won't buy you a bicycle), "Od piątej czekam" (I've been waiting since five).[3]

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