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Clause Pattern: Subject – Verb – Object – Complement (SVOC)

Understanding the construction and use of the subject – verb – object - complement clause pattern

This pattern consists of a subject A noun phrase (a person or a thing) or a nominal clause normally placed before a verb phrase and which acts as the performer of the verb. more..., a monotransitive verb A verb which takes only a direct object realised by a noun phrase. more..., a noun phrase A noun phrase consists of a head (a noun, an indefinite pronoun or a demonstrative pronoun and optionally a determiner, pre-modification (e.g. adjectives) and/or post-modification.more... and a complement A complement is a word, phrase or clause which completes another element. Any element can take a complement. Complements add further information to the elements they complement. more... clause. The complement clause may be a that-clause A finite dependent clause consisting of the word "that" and a finite clause. more..., a wh-clause A clause which begins with a wh-word (who, what, which, where, when, why, how, whether, whatever, whichever ) and acts either as a dependent interrogative clause or a nominal relative clause. more..., an infinitive clause Infinitive clauses are non-finite to-clauses. The infinitive verb is normally preceded by the marker "to". more..., or an ing-clause A participle clause (present participle) used as a noun phrase modifier, subject, direct object, adverbial, extraposed subject, subject predicative, and as part of an adjective phrase. more....

That clauses

  • Animalssubject showtransitive verb usnoun clause that there are many places to make a home that clause . (Wishart 2020)

  • In some states yousubject are asked to notifytransitive verb the public health unitnoun clause that you’ve tested positive that clause . (Doddridge 2022)

  • Hoaxessubject, similar to disinformation, are created to persuadeintransitive verb peoplenoun clause that things that are unsupported by facts are true that clause . (Alsmadi and O’Brien 2021)

  • Remindtransitive verb yourselfnoun clause that you’re not the first person to procrastinate, and you won’t be the last that clause. (Sirois 2022)

  • Nevertheless, wesubject cautiously remindtransitive verb ourselvesdirect object that hominin evolution unfolded over many millions of years that clause . (Peppe, McNulty, and MacLatchy 2023)


  • The mix of colors in beach sandsubject tellstransitive verb younoun clause what kinds of rocks produced it wh-clause . (Montgomery 2019)

  • To be a good friend for our animals, we should give them the freedom to choose their own activities, and thatsubject will showtransitive verb usnoun clause what they like wh-clause . (Starling 2021)

  • So next time you hear someone declare they’re entitled to their opinion, askintransitive verb themnoun clause why they think that wh-clause . (Stokes 2012)

  • Your eyessubject telltransitive verb the brainnoun clause what it sees wh-clause and the brain fills in the missing information. (Berg 2019)

Infinitive clauses

  • For instance, one studysubject askedtransitive verb participantsnoun clause to do either one task or two tasks at the same time to-clause . (Vasilev 2019)

  • Urgetransitive verb your universitynoun clause to divest from fossil fuels, use renewable energy and commit to achieving net zero emissions – soon to-clause . (Mocatta and White 2020)

  • With recent advances in AI made famous by ChatGPT, spammerssubject could havetransitive verb new toolsnoun clause to evade filters, grab people’s attention to-clause and convincetransitive verb usnoun clause to click, buy or give up personal information to-clause . (Licato 2023)

  • The fundamental question is why are we allowing the people with the most privilege and powersubject to convincetransitive verb usnoun clause to delay saving our planet from climate change to-clause. (Maslin 2019)

  • Isubject always advisetransitive verb politiciansdirect object to spend time with these innovators and to feed off their energy to-clause . (Mulgan 2022)


  • Wesubject can seetransitive verb lifenoun clause evolving all around us ing-clause . (Graves 2019)

  • The next time yousubject seetransitive verb an antnoun clause crawling up a wall ing-clause , look closely and you might witness some of these fascinating features at work. (Cassill 2022)

  • Rather than an explosion, it was a very rapid expansion, the event thatsubject startedtransitive verb the universenoun clause growing bigger and bigger ing-clause . (Lam-Cassettari 2019)

  • Have yousubject ever heardtransitive verb someonenoun clause talking to a baby with a funny voice that sounds almost like they are singing ing-clause? (Quinn and Mehta 2020)

  • They kill any cells that get infected to stoptransitive verb the virusdirect object from spreading within our body ing-clause . (Peppe, McNulty, and MacLatchy 2023)

Test your understanding of this Subject – Verb – Object – Complement (SVOC) pattern Go to the (SVOC) exercise page.

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