Today… we’re here to unravel the mysteries of constructing powerful sentences, namely the subject and the predicate.
A subject and predicate are the two main parts of a well-structured sentence. Whether the sentence is long and short.
The subject of a sentence is what or whom (person, place, or thing) the sentence is about. It usually comprises a noun or a pronoun. The subject can be a single word or a group of words.
The predicate contains the verb that expresses the action performed by the subject or describes its state. It also includes any additional information related to the action or stat
♦ Fire (subject) burns (predicate).
♦ Rain (subject) is falling (predicate).
♦ A person who respects themselves (subject) wouldn’t use condescending language (predicate).
♦ She (subject) plays the piano (predicate).
Why are the Subject and Predicate Important?
The subject and predicate are the basic parts of a sentence that are really important for grammar. Here’s why:
The subject and predicate form the basic structure of a sentence. Understanding this structure is essential for constructing clear and grammatically correct sentences.
When you have a subject and predicate, it’s a complete thought. A sentence without both might be confusing.
Identifying the subject and predicate helps in clarifying who or what the sentence is about and what action or state of being is involved which provides clarity.
Subjects and predicates keep sentences organized. This unity is important, so that information is clear and logical.
Subjects and predicates help in constructing grammatically correct sentences, following principles such as subject-verb agreement and proper sentence construction.
Variety and Creativity
Sentence variety and creativity come from subjects and predicates. You can experiment with these elements to make your sentences more exciting.
Mastering each element is vital for effective writing and comprehension of grammar rules.
Related Reading: The Art of Description: Techniques for Bringing Your Writing to Life
A Quick Review
When we look at the eight parts of speech, we find two important things.
First, each part has a different job in a sentence.
Second, not all parts are equally important.
Nouns/pronouns and verbs are the most important components. Nouns and pronouns give us names for people, places, or things, while verbs provide the action. Without a noun/pronoun, there’s no subject; without a verb, there’s no predicate.
And, as we know, you need both a subject and a predicate to form a sentence.
Adjectives and adverbs are not as crucial. Adjectives describe or limit nouns/pronouns, and adverbs typically modify verbs, showing how, when, or where the action happens. Without nouns/pronouns, adjectives wouldn’t have much purpose; without verbs, adverbs wouldn’t be as useful.
Prepositions and conjunctions are also less important. They connect and show relationships. If there was nothing to connect, there would be no need for connectives.
Interjections are the least important. They add energy to language but aren’t absolute necessities. We could express all our thoughts without ever using an interjection.
Types of Subject and Predicate
A single word or a group of words can make up either the subject or predicate, but the subject or the predicate alone cannot form a sentence, no matter how long they are. A thought isn’t complete by simply mentioning a thing like fire. Both a subject and a predicate are essential for a sentence.
Simple Subject and Predicate
A sentence may have only two words. A simple subject and predicate involves the main noun/pronoun and main verb.
♦ Dogs (subject) bark (predicate).
♦ Johnny (subject) swims (predicate).
Complete Subject and Predicate
Includes the main noun/pronoun and verb, along with adverbs and adjectives.
♦ The energetic dogs (subject) bark (verb) loudly.
♦ Young Johnny (subject) swims (predicate) slowly.
Compound Subject and Predicate
It’s possible for multiple subjects to be connected to the same predicate called a Compound Subject. A Compound Predicate comprises more than one predicate used with the same subject.
♦ The man and the woman (compound subject) walk the dogs as they bark (predicate).
♦ Young Johnny (subject) bikes and swims (compound predicate) every day after lunch.
So, a compound subject or predicate has two or more simple subjects or predicates, joined, when necessary, by conjunctions. Note: Either the subject or the predicate, or both, may be compound.
Modified Subject and Predicate
It’s possible for the subject or predicate to be simple or modified.
In this sentence, there is a simple subject and a simple predicate
♦ Sasha walks.
In this sentence , there is a modified subject and a modified predicate.
♦ The creepy clown walks very rapidly.
Related Reading: Understanding Adjectives: Making Your Sentences More Descriptive
Subject and Predicate Rules
So these are the basic rules:
♦ Every sentence has a subject and a predicate.
♦ The subject is who or what we’re talking about.
♦ The predicate is what we say about the subject.
♦ The simple subject is a noun or pronoun.
♦ The simple predicate is a verb or verb-phrase.
♦ The complete subject is the simple subject, along with words that explain or complete its meaning.
♦ The complete predicate is the simple predicate, along with words that explain or complete its meaning.
♦ When you have two or more simple subjects or predicates joined by conjunctions, you get a compound subject or predicate.
♦ And, just so you know, either the subject or the predicate, or both, can be compound.
Examples of Creative Subject and Predicate Use
Now that we’ve got a handle on the various types and the significance of subjects and predicates, let’s delve into how a few accomplished authors have wielded them with imagination
The Namesake (Jhumpa Lahiri)
Lahiri’s sentence stands out for its vivid and sensory detail. The seemingly ordinary act of preparing food becomes a gateway to explore cultural nuances and the complexity of identity.
♦ On a sticky August evening two weeks before her due date, Ashoke Ganguli stands in the kitchen of a Central Square apartment, combining Rice Krispies and Planters peanuts and chopped red onion in a bowl.
Related Reading: Unlocking the Power of Nouns in Writing
Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)
Ishiguro’s straightforward introduction creates an immediate sense of intimacy and prompts questions about the protagonist’s identity and the nature of her occupation. It hints at a deeper, emotional narrative.
♦ My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a carer now for over eleven years.
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
Austen’s opening sentence is memorable for its ironic and satirical tone. The statement is presented as an absolute truth, but the playful use of irony introduces the novel’s humor and social commentary.
♦ It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
White Teeth (Zadie Smith)
Smith’s use of a compound sentence in the opening not only introduces the main character but also sets up a tone of self-reflection and impending mortality. The blend of humor and introspection is distinctive.
♦ The Peculiar Second Marriage of Archie Jones was a rocky one. He was a man who took a long time to die, and as he hobbled off to the doctor’s surgery on the third floor of Beechwood House, there were two things he was damn sure of: he was a failure, and his death would be slow.
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
Marquez’s use of a complex sentence structure and time manipulation immediately captures the reader’s attention. The long sentence is both intriguing and sets the tone for the magical realism that defines his work.
♦ Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
10 Subject and Predicate Tips
1. Find the Simple Subject: Always identify the main noun or pronoun in a sentence; it’s the simple subject.
2. Find the Simple Predicate: Identify the main action or state of being in a sentence; it’s the simple predicate.
3. Ensure Subject-Verb Agreement: Ensure that the subject agrees with the verb in number (singular/plural).
4. Multiple Compound Subjects: Recognize when there are two or more simple subjects in a sentence, and they are joined by conjunctions.
5. Avoid Sentence Fragments: Ensure that every sentence has both a subject and a predicate to avoid fragments.
6. Play with Syntax: Experiment with sentence structures, utilizing different syntax patterns for a unique writing style.
7. Variety in Subjects: Use different types of nouns and pronouns to avoid monotony.
8. Compound Predicates: Identify when there are two or more simple predicates in a sentence, joined by conjunctions.
9. Experiment with Sentence Openers: Try different ways to open sentences, varying the position of subjects and predicates for stylistic flair.
10. Revise for Clarity: During editing, review and revise sentences to ensure that subjects and predicates are clear and well-constructed.
Last Words on Subjects and Predicates
Congratulations! You’ve journeyed through the fundamentals of subjects and predicates. Remember, mastering these building blocks is the key to unlocking your writing potential. Keep practicing, stay curious, and let your newfound knowledge enhance your writing journey.
Feature Image by Monoar Rahman Rony from Pixabay.