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Writing Style

Clause Patterns

Sentences are organized in particular patterns and word orders. These patterns help to show how ideas are related to each other. In English, sentences are built around the basic structure of subject and verb, which is called a clause. Subjects can be nouns or nouns phrases (a “who” or a “what”), and they carry out the action of the verb.
Pattern 1 - Subject + Verb
Nurses care.
This simple sentence pattern can be extended by adding phrases.
Nurses care for patients.
         V + prepositional phrase
Pattern 2 - Subject + Verb + Subject Complement
Nurses are compassionate.  (adjective as SC)
 S          V    SC
My sister is a nurse.              (noun as SC)
Pattern 3 - Subject + Verb + Direct Object
Nurses administer medications.
 S                        DO   
The subject carries out the action of the verb, and the direct object receives the action of the verb.
Pattern 4 - Passive Voice 
Medications are administered by nurses.
 S                  V [passive form]
Passive voice reverses the order of the sentence by placing the object of the verb in subject-position at the beginning of the sentence. Compare the position of the word, “medications” in Pattern 3 (S V O) and Pattern 4 sentences. For more on passive verb form, see "Passive Verbs," Perdue University.  
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