Assuming no prior knowledge of linguistics, it discusses and illustrates all the major terms and concepts essential to the study of sentence structure in the world's languages. 'Noun' and 'verb' are explained, and the properties of these categories are discussed. The reader discovers what a finite verb is, what 'first person singular' means and what relative clauses look like. Concepts such as 'subject', 'object', 'gender', 'case', and 'subordination' are introduced and exemplified.Initial illustration is from English whenever possible, with extensive additional material from several other languages. 'Exotic' constructions not found in related European languages are fully covered, so that verb serialization, ergative languages and head-marking languages are all included.