Subject and Predicate




To be complete, a sentence has to have a subject and a predicate. Look at the following:

Romeo

Although a name has been uttered, the above is not a sentence. Now suppose another person uttered another word, died. Again this is not a sentence, though it passes as a predicate. If both are put together, then we have a sentence: Romeo died.

The sentence may be expanded by extending the subject:
Romeo, the most handsome man in the village, died.

You can also expand on the predicate:
Romeo died tragically in despair.

Now take a look at the following words:
The big empty house with many broken windows, a crooked chimney and a fat lazy dog, at the far end of the street.

In the above example shows a collection of words. It does describe a house in great detail, but it is not a sentence. What is missing is a predicate. Now consider below:
The big empty house with many broken windows, a crooked chimney and a fat lazy dog, at the far end of the street collapsed.
The word "collapsed" turns that collection of words into a sentence.

Now consider the example below:
Goes carefully round the mountain, down the valley and across the river towards her grandmother's house.
Again, something is missing. A lot has been said, but about whom? What is missing in the above sentence is a subject.
She goes carefully round the mountain, down the valley and across the river towards her grandmother's house.

Telling the Subject from the Predicate

The subject is the thing or person we are talking about. When trying to identify the subject, it may help to ask "who" or "what" are we talking about.

Still waters run deep.
"Waters" is the subject; it is the "thing" we are talking about. "Still" provides a further description of the subject.

Dwelling on the past is useless.
What is useless? "Dwelling" is the subject. "On the past" provides a further description of it.

A few more examples, with the subject in bold:
He who represents himselfs gets a fool for a lawyer.
Driving backwards down the street might get you pulled over by the cops.


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Copyright © 2012 Timothy Tye. All Rights Reserved.