The basic structure of a Klingon sentence is:


This the reverse of the order in English, so care should be taken to avoid interpreting sentences backward. The subject is the person or thing doing the action described by the verb; The object is the recipient of that action.

The importance of word order can be seen by comparing the following sentences.

puq legh yaS The officer sees the child.

yaS legh puq The child sees the officer.

In both sentences, the words are identical: puq child, legh he/she sees him/her, yaS officer. The only way to know who is seeing whom is by the order of the words in the sentence. The verb legh is preceded by the prefix 0 he/she--him/her.

When the subject and/or object is first or second person, the prefix on the verb must be the proper one.

puq vIlegh jIH I see the child. (vIlegh I see him/her)

jIH mulegh puq The child sees me. (mulegh he/she sees me)

Actually, the first- and second-person pronouns are seldom used in sentences of this type (though they can, as here, be used for emphasis), so the following sentences illustrate more commonly occurring sentence types.

puq vIlegh I see the child.

mulegh puq The child sees me.

Imperative sentences (commands) follow the same rules.

So'wI' yIchu' Engage the cloaking device! (So'wI' cloaking device, yIchu' engage it!)

DoS yIbuS Concentrate on the target! (DoS target, yIbuS concentrate on it!)

yaSpu' tIHoH Kill the officers! (yaSpu' officers, tIHoH kill them!)

Any noun in the sentence indicating something other than subject or object comes first, before the object noun. Such nouns usually end in a Type 5 noun suffix (section 3.3.5).

pa'Daq yaS vIleghpu' I saw the officer in the room. (pa'Daq in the room, yaS officer, vIleghpu' I saw him/ her)

Other examples of this construction are given in section 3.3.5.