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Subject and Predicate

REMEMBER

A sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete thought. Unlike a phrase, it can stand alone and make full sense without the help of any additional words.

3.1 THE TWO PARTS OF THE SENTENCE

Every sentence consists of two parts. Here are ten examples in which the two parts of each sentence are printed in such a way as to mark each part off from the other.

  1. OUR NEIGHBOUR wrote several postcards.
  2. I was given a pay rise after my twenty-first birthday.
  3. HE played a remarkable game.
  4. WE saw two empty houses.
  5. THE GROUND shifted.
  6. JOHN ran across the street.
  7. THE LITTLE BOY ate a sweet.
  8. THE AEROPLANE dived steeply.
  9. HENS lay eggs.
  10. THE USE OF LANGUAGE distinguishes human beings from the other animals.

As you can see, both parts are necessary. Take away either and the part that left does not express a complete thought. In other words, either part is missing, the part that is left is not a sentence.

Examples

  1. OUR NEIGHBOUR….does not express a complete thought. Therefore, it is not a sentence.
  2. ….wrote several postcards does not express a complete thought. Therefore, it is not a sentence.
  3. HE…..does not express a complete thought. Therefore, it is not a sentence.
  4. …..played a remarkable game does not express a complete thought Therefore, it is not a sentence.

3.2 THE FUNCTIONS OF THE TWO PARTS

Consider this sentence:

Free Grammar Lessons, Subject and Predicate

Part 1 (Our neighbour names the person about whom something is being said.

Part 2 (wrote several postcards says something about the person named in Part 1.

Similarly: 

Free Grammar Lessons, Subject and Predicate

Part 1 (He) names the person about whom something is being said.

Part 2 (played a remarkable game) says something about the person named in Part 1.

Another example:

Free Grammar Lessons, Subject and Predicate

Part 1 (The use of language) names the idea about which something is being said. animals says something

Part 2 (distinguishes human beings from the other animals) says something about the idea named in Part 1. 

  • Every sentence consists of two parts.
  • One part names the person, thing or idea about which being said something is being said.
  • One part says something about the person, thing or idea named by the other part.

3.3 SUBJECT AND PREDICATE

That part of a sentence which names the person, idea or thing about which something is being said is called the subject of the sentence.

That part of a sentence which says something about the person, idea or thing named by the subject is called the predicate of the sentence.

  • Every sentence contains both a subject and a predicate.

Examples

Free Grammar Lessons, Subject and Predicate

You will find it easy to remember the functions of the subject and the predicate if you think about the meanings of the two terms.

The subject names the person, thing or idea about which something is being said. A sensible term, for the subject announces the subject of the sentence: who or what it is about.

The predicate says something about the person, thing or idea named by the subject. Another sensible term, if you remember that it comes from a Latin word meaning to declare, so the predicate declares/states some thing about the subject named by the subject.

REMEMBER

To frame a sentence, you must

  • name your subject (provide a subject for your sentence)
  • say something about your subject (provide a predicate for your sentence)

Unless you do both, the group of words you have framed is not a sentence, for it does not express a complete thought.

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