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Syntax: Introduction

The basic order of constituents in a simple Tamil sentence is Subject-Object-Verb. Other orders can be found, but they range from simple stylistic variation to unusual `afterthought' word order, where the speaker has not formed the sentence well and adds things after the basic order has been established (usually after the verb has been made finite). Compared to English, Tamil syntax is often the mirror-image of the order in an English sentence, particularly when there are relative clauses, quotations, adjectival and adverbial clauses, conjoined verbal constructions, aspectual and modal auxiliaries, and other complexities.