The Starring Roles: Subject and Predicate
Now on to the parts of a sentence. As you probably know, a sentence can be very short or very long. By definition, a sentence must have the following:(1) a predicate (usually called a verb), (2) the subject of that verb, and (3) words that form a complete thought.
The complete subject is the person, place, or thing that the sentence is about, along with all the words that modify it. The complete predicate is what the person, place, or thing is doing, or what condition it is in.
Complete Predicate (Verb)
The elderly, white-haired gentleman
walked quickly down the hallway.
The simple subject of a sentence is the fundamental part of the complete subject — the main noun(s) and pronoun(s) in the complete subject. In this example, the simple subject is
The simple predicate (verb) of a sentence is the fundamental part of the complete predicate — the verb(s) in the complete predicate. In the example, the simple predicate is
A sentence may also have compound subjects and predicates.
This sentence has a compound subject:
This sentence has a compound verb:
This sentence has a compound subject —
If you have trouble locating the subject of a sentence, find the verb and then ask
The verb is
Some imperative sentences written in the second person are called “
You understand that the meaning is “You go get me some lemonade.”
Remember that the subject of a sentence is never in a prepositional phrase. If the sentence is a question, the subject sometimes appears after the verb. To find the subject, turn the question around so that it resembles a declarative sentence. Then proceed in the normal way. Look at this sentence:
Now, turn the wording around so that you have:
Finding the subject of a sentence helps you use verbs and pronouns correctly.
Try the interactive quiz on sentence subjects at this Web site: