English grammar describes the structure of words, phrases and sentences of today's Standard English. Deviations from the grammar described here occur in some historical, social and regional varieties of English, but these are smaller than differences in pronunciation and vocabulary.

Modern English has largely abandoned the inflectional case system still present in Old English, as well as the genus in nouns. Unlike the other West Germanic languages, modern English has a basic word order of subject-verb-object. The inflection of verbs has also been greatly reduced. In English, eight parts of speech are usually distinguished: nouns, determiners, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions.

Sentence Structure

In English, sentence structure (word order) follows the SPO rule: subject - predicate (verb) - object; unlike German or the other West Germanic languages, English is not a "verb-two" language.

Why was she able to fly into space?

Because she was dreaming.

Place and time indications, which in German are often inserted between the verb and the object, are placed in English at the beginning of the sentence or after the object at the end of the sentence. In contrast to German, when place and time come together at the end of a sentence, the place is placed before the time (rule: place before time). If there is more than one place and time at the end of a sentence, the order "from the more precise to the less precise" is always followed.

He lives in a tiny village near the border of Denmark.

Indications of the way, i.e. "How?" something is, are usually placed at the end of the sentence before the place and time indications, so the order is "How? - Where? - When?".

He was alone at home last night.

Information on frequency (How often?), on the other hand, is not found at the end of the sentence; here, the sentence position depends on the number of words that make up the predicate of the sentence. If the predicate consists of only one word, the frequency information is inserted between the subject and the predicate.

I never drink alcohol!

If the predicate consists of two or more words, the frequency indicator is placed after the first word of the predicate.

I will always love you!

Certain frequency indications, which are also called frequency adverbs, can also be found at the beginning of the sentence. These refer to the whole sentence and are placed at the beginning to give them greater emphasis. The frequency adverbs of the English language are: often, usually, sometimes and occasionally.

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.

If there are two different objects - indirect (analogous to the German dative) and direct (analogous to the accusative) object (indirect and direct object) - the SPO rule becomes the SPiOdO rule:

I gave you the book.

A meaningful conversion of the objects is only possible with the help of a preposition:

I gave the book to you.

The reason for the strict positional rule - compared e.g. to German - is that in English the case cannot usually be read from the declined form of the noun. For example, "you" means both "du" (nominative) and "dir" (dative) and "dich" (accusative).