Verb Subject Object

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Verb Subject Object—commonly used in its abbreviated form VSO—is a term in linguistic typology. It represents one type of languages when classifying languages according to the sequence of these constitutents in neutral expressions: Ate Sam oranges. The word order roughly corresponds to the order of symbols in (non-reverse) Polish notation or the S-expressions of the Lisp programming language.

Examples of languages with VSO word order include the Celtic languages (such as Welsh, Irish, and Scottish Gaelic), Arabic, Ancient Egyptian, Tagalog and Tongan. Non-VSO languages that use VSO word order in questions include many Germanic languages and French.

For example, Dutch uses VSO order in regular questions, and SVO order only (and optionally) for questions based on neutral sentences, as statements of incredulity ("Sam at sinaasappels." "Sam at sinaasappels?", "Sam ate oranges?"). Similarly, German (normally SVO, though other orderings are used for purposes of emphasis) uses VSO order in certain conjunctionless subjunctive subclauses ("Äße Sam Orangen" as opposed to "Wenn Sam Orangen äße", both meaning "If Sam ate oranges") - as well as, traditionally, in jokes.

Finnish has a free word order, but most often the word being questioned comes first, followed by the rest of the constituents in SVO order. Thus it uses VSO order in questions where the action referred by the verb is questioned: "Söikö Sam appelsiineja?" ("Did Sam eat oranges?") However, questions where the subject or object is questioned are structured SVO or OSV, respectively: "Samko söi appelsiineja?" ("Was it Sam who ate oranges?"); "Appelsiinejako Sam söi?" ("Was it oranges that Sam ate?")

The permutations in the order of most common to rarest are:

eo:Verbo Subjekto Objekto


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