Sentence Pattern Study: Pattern 4

Pattern 4 with Shurley English.jpg

Welcome back to the third entry in my series about sentence patterns. Remember, if you recognize the pattern of a sentence’s core parts, the grammar of the sentence (or its word arrangement) will make more sense. So far, you know about Pattern 1, Pattern 2, and Pattern 3.

Now…on to Pattern 4. For this sentence pattern, you need to pay careful attention to verb. Take a look at our sample sentence:

Pattern 4 with Shurley English.png
Pattern 4 Chickens with Shurley English.png

In Pattern 4, we use a linking verb instead of an action verb. The linking verb links the subject noun to the noun that comes after the linking verb. A noun after a linking verb is a predicate noun (PrN). You know you have a Pattern 4 on your hands when you can read it forwards and backwards:

Chickens are birds  -OR-  Birds are chickens.

Even though the reverse sounds funny, it’s still true. Here is a list of common linking verbs that make this kind of connection happen: am, is, are, was, were


Look at these other examples of Pattern 4 sentences. Notice the linking verbs!

1. Cars are machines.

2. A butterfly is an insect.

3. A cat is a feline.

4. A dog is a canine.

5. The sun is a star.


Remember: If a noun comes after a linking verb and basically renames the subject noun, you have a Pattern 4!