Parts of the Sentence Simple Subjects and Simple Predicates A sentence is a group of words expressing a complete thought. Every sentence has two basic parts, a subject and a predicate. The subject is the part of the sentence which something is being said. The predicate (verb) is the part that says something about the subject. Simple Subjects and Simple Predicates The simple subject is the key noun or pronoun (or word or group of words acting as a noun) that tells what a sentence is about. The simple subject may be a compound noun consisting of more than one word. The simple predicate is the verb or verb phrase the expresses the essential thought about the subject of the sentence. A simple predicate that is a verb phrase consists of the verb and any helping verbs. Simple Subjects and Simple Predicates Simple Subject Simple Predicate Dionne Warwick will perform. Owls were hooting. Jose’ Canseco ran. Things change. Complete Subjects and Complete Predicates The complete subject consists of the simple subject and all the words that modify it. The complete predicate consists of the simple predicate, or verb, and all the words that modify it or complete its meaning. Complete Subjects and Complete Predicates Simple Subject Simple Predicate Talented Dionne Warwick will perform her biggest hits. Large owls with bright eyes were hooting in the forest. The speedy Jose’ Canseco ran all the way home from first base. Many things change daily. Compound subjects and Compound predicates A compound subject is made up of two or more simple subjects that are joined by a conjunction and have the same verb. The conjunctions most commonly used to join the subjects in a compound subject are and & or. Tomatoes and carrots are colorful vegetables. Tomatoes or carrots are my favorite vegetables. Correlative conjunctions may be used to join compound subjects. Neither the tomato nor the pepper grows underground. Both the tomato and the pepper are rich in vitamin C. Compound subjects and Compound predicates A compound predicate (or compound verb) is made up of two or more verbs or verb phrases that are joined by a conjunction and have the same subject. Horses gallop and charge. Nina inserted the film, looked through the viewfinder, and snapped the photograph. In compound verbs that contain verb phrases, the helping verb may or may not be repeated before the second verb. Sea gulls will glide or swoop down to the ocean. A sentence may have both a compound subject and compound predicate. Butterflies and hummingbirds dart and dip in the air. Inverted Order At times a sentence is written in inverted order. In other words, the predicate is before the subject. Predicate Subject Across the field galloped the three horses. In the distance ran a river. Remember, a word in a prepositional phrase is never the subject. Inverted Order Predicate Subject There is a chill in the air. Here are my thoughts on the subject. When the word there or here begins a sentence and is followed by a form of the verb to be, the subject follows the verb. The words there and here are almost never the subject of a sentence. Inverted Order To find a subject in an inverted sentence, ask “who?” or “what?” Predicate Subject Across the field galloped In the distance ran There is Here are the three horses. a river. a chill in the air. my thoughts on the subject. What galloped across the field? The three horses galloped. What is in the air? A chill is in the air. Complements A complement is a word or group of words that completes the meaning of a verb. There are four kinds of complements: Direct objects Indirect objects Object complements Subject complements Direct Objects A direct object answers the question what or whom after an action verb. The subject of a sentence usually performs that action indicated by the verb. That action may be directed toward or received by someone or something – direct object. Nouns, pronouns or words serving as nouns can be direct objects. Carlos served dinner. [Carlos served what?] Marie admires him deeply. [Marie admires whom?] Carlos served a Mexican dinner and a fabulous dessert. [Carlos served what?] Indirect Objects An indirect object answers the question to whom, for who, to what and for what after an action verb. In most cases a sentence may have an indirect object only if it has a direct object. The indirect object will always come between the verb and the direct object. Tyrone served his sisters dinner. Greta saved him a seat. Kim saved Rosa and Jose’ seats. The children gave the worthy charity all their savings. Marsha gave the game her best effort. Object Complements An object complement answers the question what? after a direct object. In other words, it completes the meaning of the direct object by identifying or describing it. Object complements occur only in sentences with direct objects and only in those sentences with the following action verbs or similar verbs that have the general meaning of “make” or “consider.” Appoint elect Choose render consider make call find name think Object Complements An object complement usually follows a direct object. It may be an adjective, a noun, or a pronoun. Residents find the park peaceful. [adjective] Katie appointed me assistant, treasurer, and cook. [nouns] My grandmother considers the property hers. [pronoun] Subject Complements A subject complement follows a subject and a linking verb and identifies or describes the subject. There are two kinds of subject complements: predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives. A Predicate nominative is a noun or pronoun that follows a linking verb (sob) and points back to the subject to rename it or to identify it further. Sopranos are singers. Clearly the star of the opera was she. Many current opera stars are Italians or Spaniards. Julia became both a musician and an actress. That experience remains a cherished memory for me. Subject Complements A predicate adjective follows a linking verb and points back to the subject and describes it. Ballerinas are graceful. Ballerinas must be extremely dedicated. Most ballerinas seem intense and hard-working. Predicate adjectives may follow any linking verb. I felt very carefree. Only a few marathoners appear fresh even now. The water tasted delicious. I grew increasingly tired. My sister appeared weary. My friend Tanya looked exhausted but happy.