Sentences ~ Subjects and Predicates
A sentence is made up of one or more words that express a
complete thought. Every sentences begins with a capital letter and
ends with an end mark-a period, a question mark, or an exclamation
point. A sentence must have a subject and a predicate.
The children are learning.
The subject part of a sentence names whom or what the sentence is about. It is the part of the sentence about which something is being said. [Who is learning? the children]
The predicate part of the sentence tells what the subject does or
has. It can also describe what the subject is or is like. [What are the
children doing? learning]
Although people often use fragments when speaking, complete
sentences should be used in writing for school or business.
Complete Subjects and Predicates
The complete subject includes all of the words in the subject. The complete predicate includes all of the words in the predicate.
[complete subject] [complete predicate]
The children are learning.
Simple Subjects and Predicates
Not all of the words in the subject or the predicate are of equal importance. The main word in the complete subject is called the simple subject.
simple subject: The children are learning
The simple subject is usually a noun or a pronoun. A noun is a
word that names a person, a place, a thing, or an idea. A pronoun is a word that takes the place of one or more nouns.
simple predicate: The children are learning.
The main word in the complete predicate is called the simple
predicate. The simple predicate is always a verb. A verb is a word
that expresses an action or a state of being.
Identifying the Subject
Most statements begin with the subject. However, many
questions begin with a word that is part of the complete predicate.
The subject of a sentence may be at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end. The predicate also precedes the subject in statements beginning with There is, There are, Here is, or Here are.In commands the subject is usually not stated. It is understood.
Position of the subject: Sentence at the beginning The children were complaining about the amount of homework.
in the middle Although learning is valued, the children complained about the amount of homework.
at the end There are the children.
not stated Do your homework. (You)
When you are identifying the subject in an interrogative sentence (a question) it may help to put the question in the form of a statement:
Do the children understand the homework?
The children understand the homework.
You may also simplify the task of identifying subjects by identifying
any prepositional phrases. The subject nor the main verb will ever be
a part of a prepositional phrase.
The position of the predicate obviously varies too. While the
predicate often comes after the subject, part or all of the predicate may come before the subject.
Position of the Predicate: Sentence after the subject The children were complaining about the amount of homework.
before and after the subject Although learning is valued, the children complained about the amount of homework.
before the subject There are the children.