Subject and Predicate


Subject and Predicate

Subject and Predicate

Subject and Predicate

Subject and Predicate

We know that our speech is made up of sentences. Sentences are made up of words arranged in an agreed way. A sentence gives a complete sense. Every sentence can be divided into two parts, as: Subject and Predicate. For example:

1. Dogs bark.

2. Birds fly.

In the above sentences, the words Dogs and Birds are subjects and the words bark and fly are Predicates. Let us discuss them in detail as below:

Subject and Predicate

The Subject

The subject of a sentence may be only one word, or it may be made up of a number of words. The main word in the subject is called Head-word and the words which come before the Head-word are called Qualifiers. The Qualifiers are further divided into Determiners and Adjectives. The words which come after the Head-word are called Adjectival Phrase because they qualify the noun. For instance mind the following table:

Subject and Predicate

Subject    Predicate


DeterAdjecHead-Adjectival minertivewordPhrase

A pious lady with long hair delivered a speech

In the above example, the Subject is divided into (1) Qualifiers (2) Head-word and (3) Adjectival Phrase. The Qualifiers are further divided into two parts as: (i) Determiner and (ii) Adjective.

The chief Determiners are:

1. Articles: A, An and The

2. Demonstratives: This, That, These and Those.

3. Possessive Forms: my, our, your, her, his, their, its, Ram’s.

4. Limiting Adjectives: Some, all, many, few, much etc.

The Adjective is placed between the Head-word and the Determiner; the Adjectival Phrase is placed after the Head-word as shown in the above table.

The Head-word of a subject is either a noun or a pronoun or any other word which has the same function or relation in a sentence as a noun. Such words are: (i) Gerund and (ii) Infinitives. For examples:

Swimming is a good exercise.

To swim is a good exercise.

In the first sentence, the word Swimming is the Subject (Head-word) and it is a Gerund. In the second sentence To swim is the Head-word and it is an Infinitive.

In some sentences the Head-word may be either It or There as in the following sentences:

It is raining heavily.

There is some problem.

In the above sentences, the words It and There have no particular meaning. They have been used simply to begin the sentence. In such use, the word It is called Neutral ‘It’ and the word There is called Introductory ‘There’.

Subject and Predicate

The Predicate

The Predicate of a sentence, like the Subject, may be formed only of one word or of a number of words. When it is formed only of one word then that word is always a verb. For example: 

Ram runs.

Here the Predicate is formed only of one word and the word ‘run’ is a verb.

When the Predicate is formed of a number of words it is divided into two parts as (1) the Verb (Headword) and (2) the Object.

The Object may be a noun, pronoun, noun phrase, infinitive, or gerund.

As is the case with the subject, the object may also have a Determiner, an Adjective and an Adjectival Phrase. For example:

Robert read a new book.

In the above sentence, the Predicate is made up of four words as read, a, new and book. Here the Headword is read and it is a verb, a is a determiner new is an adjective and book is a noun (object).

In some sentences when the Verb in the Predicate is a Transitive verb it takes two objects to complete its sense. For example:

Manab gives me a pen.

In the above sentence, there are two objects as me and a pen. 

Here ‘me’ is an animate (living)  object and the pen is an inanimate (lifeless)  object. The Animate Object is called an Indirect Object and the Inanimate Object is called Direct Object. In a sentence, the Animate or Indirect Object generally comes after the verb and the Inanimate or Direct Object comes after it.

In some sentences, the Direct Object comes first and the Indirect Object comes after it. In such cases prepositions as: for or to is used before the Indirect Object as in the following sentence:

Jadav teaches us Hindi. 

Jadav teaches Hindi to us.

In the first sentence, us is the Indirect Object and Hindi is the Direct Object. In the second sentence, the Direct Object Hindi is placed first and the preposition to is used before us (indirect object).

In some sentences, the Object is not complete by itself, and it needs some word or group of words to complete the sense. Such words or groups of words are called Object Complements. For example:

We made him the President.

We named our horse Chaitak.

In these sentences the President and Chaitak are Object Complements as they complete the objects him and the horse. In these examples, the object complements are Nouns and Noun Phrases. But Adjectives, Adjectival Phrases, Present Participles and past Participles may also be used as Object Complements as in the following sentences:

He saw him sitting (Present Participle)

They made me bored. (Past Participle)

We found him happy. (Adjective)

When the verb in the Predicate is an Intransitive verb it does not require any object to complete the sense. For example: 

Baby cries.

In the above sentence cries is an Intransitive verb and no object is used after the verb, but still, the sense is complete.

Some sentence made up of Intransitive verb does not make complete sense and require some Noun, Pronoun or Adjective to complete the sense. Such Nouns, Pronouns or Adjectives are called Subject Complements. For examples:

The lady seems happier.

The night becomes dark.

Here ‘happier’ and ‘dark’ are subject complements for they complete the information of the subjects ‘Lady’ and ‘night’. The verbs seem and become are called Liking Verbs for they link the subject with its complement.

When the verb in the Predicate is a ‘to be’ verb (am, is, are, was, were) then the word or words coming after it is subject complements. Such words may be Nouns, Pronouns, Noun Phrases, Infinitives, Adjectives, Adjective Phrases, Adverbs, Present Participles and Adverbials as in the following sentences:

1. The pen is here. (Adverb)

2. He is happy. (Adjective)

3. The bag is on the table. (Adverbial)

4. This godown is to let. (Infinitives)

5. It is a tree. (Noun)

7. This book is his. (Pronoun)

Subject and Predicate

Subject and Predicate

1. Analyze the following sentences into Subject and Predicate. Also, break up the Subjects into separate parts:

a. Kalidas had been a great poet.

b. They are peasants.

c. The pretty girl with the round face is a lyricist.

d. Your uncle is our Science teacher.

e. The baby cried continuously.

f. The man sitting in the front raw is my cousin.

g. The peasants generally work in the field.

h. Children like to play all day long.

2. Analyze the following sentences into Subject and Predicate. Also, break the Predicate into separate parts.

a. The cow is very shrewd.

b. My daughter enjoys cycling.

c. They want to play.

d. He sent me a box full of books.

e. Our grandfather tells us strange tales.

f. The captain of the team decided to play in the Royal Field.

g. The Rhinos of Assam are one-horned.

3. Find out the Indirect Objects in the following sentences:

a. We presented the guests with some pens.

b. He gives me a cotton shirt.

c. The boy sent a telegram to us.

d. Karim and Rahim greeted us.

e. Hari is giving us shelter.

4. Find out the Subjects and Objects of the following sentences:

a. Walking is a good exercise.

b. Swimming is good for health.

c. To smoke is injurious to health.

d. Barking dog does not bite.

e. He made me worried.

5. Find out the Object Complements of the following sentences:

a. We made him the spokesman.

b. He named his home White Building.

c. He kept us waiting.

d. I found him sad.

e. They made me worried.

f. We made him busy.

g. The teacher made us learn the lesson. 

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N.B.  The article ‘Subject and Predicate’ originally belongs to the book ‘School English Grammar Part- I‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

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  13. School Essays Part-II
  14. School English Grammar Part-I
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