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SUBJECTS AND PREDICATES

Except for an interjection when it is meant to stand alone, every complete sentence needs a subject and a predicate. In every complete sentence, there will always be a simple subject and a complete subject, as well as a simple predicate and a complete predicate. Every word in a complete simple sentence is either part of the complete subject or part of the complete predicate.


SUBJECT
The subject tells whom or what a sentence is about. Every sentence has a simple subject and a complete subject.

Simple Subject: The key word in the complete subject. It tells specifically what the sentence is about. It may be one word or a group of words, but it does not include words that modify or describe.

Example: The big dog ran fast. (Simple subject)

¤    A simple subject is always a noun or a pronoun.
¤    A simple subject is usually one word, but it can be longer. This usually occurs when the simple
      subject is a proper name.  (Examples: Jane Doe; United States of America.)

Complete Subject: The part of the sentence that is not the complete predicate. It includes all the words that identify the person, place, thing, or idea the sentence is about. The simple subject is always part of the complete subject.

Example: The big dog ran fast. (Complete subject)

The simple subject and the complete subject can sometimes be the same.

Example: You are walking fast.

PREDICATE
The predicate tells what the subject does or is. Every sentence has a simple predicate and a complete predicate.

Simple Predicate: The most important word in the complete predicate. It tells what the subject does or is. It may be one word or several, but it does not include modifying words.

Example: The big dog ran fast. (Simple predicate)
Example: The big dog is running fast. (Simple predicate)

¤    A simple predicate is always a verb phrase. A verb phrase is a main verb and any helping verbs.
      When there are no helping verbs, the verb phrase will consist of one word.
      There can never be more than three helping verbs in a verb phrase. Examples:
            I walk.                                         (Main verb)
            I am walking.                             (Main verb with one helping verb)
            I could be walking.                    (Main verb with two helping verbs)
            I should have been walking.     (Main verb with three helping verbs)

¤    There are 23 helping verbs. They are:

            Forms of be:     am   is   are   was   were   be   been   being
            Forms of do:     do   does   did
            Forms of have:  have   has   had
            Other verbs:     can   will   shall   may   must   could   would   should   might

Complete Predicate: The part of the sentence that is not the complete subject. It includes all the words that tell or ask something about the subject. The simple predicate is always part of the complete predicate.

Example: The big dog ran fast. (Complete predicate)
Example: The big dog is running fast. (Complete predicate)

The simple predicate and the complete predicate can sometimes be the same.

Example: The big dog ran.

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