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Reading and Writing Rocks Yellow / Lesson 8: Subjects and Predicates

Subjects and Predicates
Subjects and Predicates

  • Every sentence consists of two essential sentence elements, the subject
        and the predicate.

  • Subjects and Predicates

    • The subject tells us who or what the sentence is about, and the predicate tells us what that subject is doing-or sensing-or is. The most basic part of the predicate is the verb. In fact, sometimes the predicate may consist of only a verb, but it still tells us what the subject is doing.

    Subjects and Predicates

    • Example: Airplanes fly.
    • Even though there are only two words in this sentence, it does meet the three requirements of a complete sentence. The sentence is about airplanes (the subject); the word fly (the verb) tells us what airplanes do (the predicate), and the sentence expresses a complete thought.

    Subjects and Predicates

    • Example: The soft, purring kitten nestled in the child's lap.
    • In this case, the soft, purring kitten is the subject of the sentence because the kitten (the simple subject) is what the sentence is about. What did the kitten do? It nestled in the child's lap; therefore, these words form the predicate of the sentence. More specifically, the word nestled (the verb) indicates the kitten's action.

    To find Subject and To Find Predicate:

    • "What is this sentence about?"
      Once you have identified the subject, to find the verb ask,

      "What is this subject doing?"
      Some people find it easier to do the reverse-first find the verb and then find the subject.


    • Ask who or what the sentence is about. Find the main person or thing in the sentence.

    • The subject is usually a noun (a person, place or thing) or pronoun (words like he, she or they that take the place of a noun).

    • The subject is usually at the beginning of a sentence, before the verb.

    • There may be more than one subject in a sentence.

    • The subject can never be the object of a preposition, words like with, from, under, over, and of.


    • Ask what is the subject doing? Look for a word that shows action.

    • Look for common verb endings like ?ing or ?ed, or if you can add ?ing to a word, it is probably a verb.

    • The verb usually comes after the subject.

    • There may be more than one verb in a sentence.

    • Words like is, was, are, am, was, were, has, have, had, seems (linking verbs) will always be at least part of the verb.


    • The soft, hypnotic motion of the waves serenaded us with tender songs of happier times and finally lulled us into a peaceful, dreamless sleep.

    • ne of the first things you can do to make finding the subject and verb easier is to eliminate all of the prepositional phrases because neither the subject nor the verb can be part of a prepositional phrase. Then the sentence would look like this: The soft, hypnotic motion serenaded us and finally lulled us.

    Example continued:

    • The soft, hypnotic motion serenaded us and finally lulled us.

    • What is this sentence about? Even though waves is the word closest to the verb, it can't be the subject because it's part of the prepositional phrase "of the waves." So who or what is this sentence about? It's about the soft, hypnotic motion. Which of these words is a noun or pronoun? Motion is the noun, so motion is the simple subject

    • What did the subject (motion) do? Or are there any words that have common verb endings like -ing or ?ed? There are two words that end in ?ed and come after the subject, serenaded and lulled. In addition, they do show what the motion did (the action); therefore, serenaded and lulled are the verbs.

    Subject: Motion

    • Predicate:
      Serenaded and
      finally lulled us

    Choose the predicate. Olivia sat with her friends at lunch.

    • sat with her friends at lunch.

    Choose the subject. Five little pigs went to the market.

    • Five little pigs

    Choose the subject. Aimee saw the Blue Angels at the Air Show.

    • Aimee

    Choose the predicate. Sam saw Julia singing in the choir.

    • saw Julia singing in the choir.