Word order is essential in many languages to convey meaning properly. Generally, the subject comes first, followed by a predicate containing a verb and any objects (direct or indirect).
An SOV language uses subject, object and active verb (in that order) in ordinary statements.
- In an SOV language, a speaker would say, "Sam orange eat".  To the extent that subjects are used at all in Japanese and Korean, they are SOV languages; Sam wa tou o taberu; Sam eats an orange.
- English is a subject, verb, object language, or SVO. In a sentence such as "the man kicks the ball", the verb comes between the subject and the object. In an SOV language, a speaker would say, "The man the ball kicks". Most languages are either SVO or SOV, though some have other ways of indicating who is doing what to whom, such as changes in word endings known as inflections.