Subject Predicate Relationship

"Beth is." Can you tell what's wrong with this sentence? The issue is, that it's not really a sentence at all. This is because every complete sentence must contain two parts: a subject and a predicate, and, in this example, the predicate is incomplete In this explanation, we'll define subject and predicate, and explore how we use them to build grammatically complete sentences. 

Subject Predicate Relationship Subject Predicate Relationship

Create learning materials about Subject Predicate Relationship with our free learning app!

  • Instand access to millions of learning materials
  • Flashcards, notes, mock-exams and more
  • Everything you need to ace your exams
Create a free account
Table of contents

    Subject-Predicate Relationship Definition

    Complete sentences must contain a subject and its predicate, but what do those terms mean? Let's take a look at some definitions:

    Subject - The subject of a sentence is the person, animal, place, or thing the sentence revolves around. The subject typically does or is something in a sentence and often performs the verb. For example, "Beth is happy."

    Predicate - A predicate is the part of a sentence that compliments the subject, i.e. it tells us what the subject is/does. Predicates must contain a verb and can also contain objects and additional words and phrases.

    As we mentioned, predicates often contain objects. An object of a sentence is the person, animal, place, or thing on the receiving end of a verb. Let's break down the following sentence as an example: "Josh kicked the ball"

    • The subject = Josh

    • The verb = kicked

    • The object = the ball

    • The predicate = kicked the ball

    Remember: not all sentences need an object, but they do need a predicate.

    When we talk about predicates containing verbs, it can be tempting to think only of action verbs, e.g., kick, run, jump. However, it's important to remember that verbs can be auxiliary verbs too, such as be, have, do, etc.

    Subject-predicate relationship, image of people dancing, StudySmarterNotice how the verb 'are' agrees with the plural subject 'they'

    Types of Predicates

    There are three main types of predicates: simple, compound, and complete.

    • Simple predicates - The verb or verb phrase in a predicate

    • Complete predicates - When the predicate contains a verb and more, such as its modifiers or additional information

    • Compound predicates - When a singular subject contains two or more predicates joined together by a conjunction.

    The predicates of each sentence appear in bold.

    Simple predicate = "Scott ran."

    Complete predicate = "Scott ran quickly to the store."

    Compound predicate = "Scott ran quickly to the store and bought a soda."

    Predicates and Verbs

    It is possible to have sentences with a simple predicate only, i.e. just a subject and verb. In this case, the verb must be intransitive, meaning it makes sense without an object. For example, "The bird flies."

    Other, longer, predicates contain transitive verbs with direct objects, e.g., "The girl ate the cookie." As well as intransitive verbs with modifiers.

    Predicates can also serve different purposes in a sentence depending on the type of verb they contain. When the predicate contains an auxiliary (helping) verb, rather than an action verb, we get predicate adjectives and predicate nominatives.

    • Predicate adjectives describe the subject, e.g., "She was beautiful."
    • Predicate nominatives tell us what the subject is, e.g., "They are players in the soccer team."

    Rules of Agreement: Subject and Predicate

    When forming sentences, it is essential that the subject and the verb within the predicate 'agree'. This means:

    Singular subjects (e.g., he, she, it, Beyonce) agree with singular verbs/verb forms. Singular verbs include the auxiliary verbs is, was, and has. As well as main verbs + -s, e.g., likes, walks, runs, and jumps.

    He (single subject) + is handsome (predicate containing singular verb form).

    Beyonce (single subject) + has seven studio albums (predicate containing singular verb form).

    She likes cheese.

    In the park, an old woman exercises. - In this sentence, the order of the sentence has changed and the subject of the sentence (the old woman) doesn't appear first. Don't let this confuse you; the same rules apply.

    Plural subjects (e.g., we, they, Beyonce and Jay Z) agree with plural verbs/verb forms. Plural verbs include the auxiliary verbs are, were, and have. As well as main verbs without an -s, e.g., like, walk, run, jump.

    They (plural subject) + are on their way (predicate containing plural verb form).

    Beyonce and Jay Z (plural subject) + have one studio album (predicate containing plural verb form).

    We like pizza.

    The women, members of a soccer team, are celebrating. - In this sentence, we can see a whole phrase between the subject (the women) and the verb (are). Don't let phrases like this confuse you, the verb should always match with the main subject.

    There are a few exceptions to these rules (of course!). The singular pronouns I and you are accompanied by plural main verbs.

    For example,

    • I sings = Incorrect

    • I sing - Correct

    • You is angry = Incorrect

    • You are angry = Correct

    When using the singular pronouns I and you with auxiliary verbs, the general rule remains the same, i.e., singular subjects agree with the singular verb form.

    For example,

    • I are happy = Incorrect

    • I am happy = Correct

    When using the 3rd person singular (i.e. talking about a singular other person), we use the auxiliary verb is.

    For example,

    • He are happy = Incorrect

    • He is happy = Correct

    Subject-predicate relationship, woman exercising, StudySmarterAlthough she doesn't appear first in the sentence, the old woman is still the main subject

    Here is a list of things to consider and some exceptions to the rules for creating a grammatically correct subject-predicate relationship:
    • Don't be misled by phrases or clauses that appear between the main subject and the verb.
    • Don't be confused by sentences that have been flipped, i.e., predicate + subject.
    • Use the plural verb form when using the singular pronouns I and You.
    • Use the singular verb form when subjects are joined with Or/Nor.
    • Use the singular verb form for collective nouns, e.g., the herd
    • Pay attention to the countable and uncountable nouns, rather than the modifiers. Uncountable nouns agree with singular verb forms.
    • Pair indefinite pronouns (e.g., anyone) with singular verb forms.

    Subject-Predicate Examples

    Now we know what predicates are, the different types, and how to use them successfully, let's look at some further examples and see if we can identify each part of the predicate.

    "He ran for the bus"

    Subject = He

    Simple predicate = ran

    Complete predicate = ran for the bus

    "She is visiting her parents over spring break"

    Subject = She

    Simple predicate = is visiting

    Complete predicate = is visiting her parents over spring break

    "They bought a dog and named it Spot."

    Subject = They

    Simple predicate = bought, named

    Compound predicate = bought a dog, named it Spot

    Subject-predicate Relationship - Key takeaways

    • Complete sentences must contain a subject and its predicate
    • The subject of a sentence is the person, animal, place, or thing the sentence revolves around. On the other hand, a predicate is the part of a sentence that compliments the subject, i.e. it tells us what the subject is/does
    • A predicate must contain a verb that 'agrees' with the subject
    • As a general rule, single subjects agree with singular verb forms, and plural subjects agree with plural verb forms
    • Singular verbs include the auxiliary verbs is, was, and has. As well as main verbs + -s, e.g., likes
    • Plural verbs include the auxiliary verbs are, were, and have. As well as main verbs without an -s, e.g., like
    Frequently Asked Questions about Subject Predicate Relationship

    What are subject and predicate examples?

    Every sentence must contain a subject and a predicate. For example, She (subject) + is singing (predicate).


    Other examples include:

    They (subject) + have the day off (predicate).

    I (subject) + need a holiday (predicate).

    In the middle of the night (predicate), the phone (subject) rang (predicate).

    What is the relationship between the predicate and the verb?

    Every predicate must contain a verb; action or auxiliary.

    How do you separate the subject and predicate in a sentence?

    Begin by identifying the subject - this is the person, animal, place, or thing the sentence is based on. The subject often is or does something. The predicate is everything else in the sentence - it adds more information to the subject.

    What is the relationship between compound subject and predicate?

    A compound subject is a subject that contains two or more nouns/pronouns joined with and. Compound subjects are considered plural subjects and should agree with plural verb forms. For example, "Beyonce and Jay Z are married."

    What is an example of a predicate?

    In the sentence, "Billy was in a band." the predicate is "was in a band."


    Predicates give extra information to a subject and must contain a verb.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    What must a predicate contain?

    Identify the subject:"Last night, the tree fell down."

    What type of subject is "Beyonce and Jay Z"

    Next
    1
    About StudySmarter

    StudySmarter is a globally recognized educational technology company, offering a holistic learning platform designed for students of all ages and educational levels. Our platform provides learning support for a wide range of subjects, including STEM, Social Sciences, and Languages and also helps students to successfully master various tests and exams worldwide, such as GCSE, A Level, SAT, ACT, Abitur, and more. We offer an extensive library of learning materials, including interactive flashcards, comprehensive textbook solutions, and detailed explanations. The cutting-edge technology and tools we provide help students create their own learning materials. StudySmarter’s content is not only expert-verified but also regularly updated to ensure accuracy and relevance.

    Learn more
    StudySmarter Editorial Team

    Team Subject Predicate Relationship Teachers

    • 7 minutes reading time
    • Checked by StudySmarter Editorial Team
    Save Explanation

    Study anywhere. Anytime.Across all devices.

    Sign-up for free

    Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.

    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

    The first learning app that truly has everything you need to ace your exams in one place

    • Flashcards & Quizzes
    • AI Study Assistant
    • Study Planner
    • Mock-Exams
    • Smart Note-Taking
    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App