In linguistic typology
, subject-verb-object (SVO)
is the sequence 'subject verb object' in neutral expressions. Languages are classified according to the dominant sequence of these constitutents of sentences. This sequence is the second most common.
English, French, Kiswahili, Indonesian, and Chinese are examples of languages that follow this pattern.
The other permutations, in order of how common they are:
- Subject Object Verb (e.g., Japanese, Persian, Latin, Turkish, Tibetan, Tamil, Quechua)
- Verb Subject Object (e.g., Welsh, classical Arabic, Hawaiian, Berber)
- Verb Object Subject (e.g., Fijian, Terena, Malagasy)
- Object Subject Verb (e.g., Jamamadi, Xavante)
- Object Verb Subject (e.g., Guarijio, Hixkaryana)
Some languages are mixed: in German
, SVO is basic, but finite verbs appear after the subject when they appear in the main clause: GŁnther ist nach Berlin gefahren
, Gunther has travelled to Berlin
is the finite verb, directly after the subject GŁnther
, and gefahren
is a non-finite verb, a past participle, in the standard verb-final position). German verbs appear before
their subjects when an adverb or modifying the verb, or a phrase acting as such an adverb, is at the beginning of the sentence.
Rare sequences are often used for effect in fiction, to mark a character's speech as alien. Examples include the Klingon language (OVS) and Yoda in Star Wars (OSV: "a brave man your father was").