Notably, every sentence may be divided grammatically into two broad parts: Subject and Predicate. The subject may be a noun or a noun-equivalent, a noun phrase or a noun clause. The predicate embraces the verb and its accompanying words.

Usually, a sentence begins with the subject, followed by the predicate:

Sometimes. however, certain exceptions occur to the Subject + Verb pattern, changing it to verb + subject instead. Such exceptions include:

1) Direct questions:

  • Is the girl pretty? (verb + subject)
  • Did anybody talk? (auxiliary + subject + verb)


2) Sentences begun with the expletives THERE and HERE:

  • There is no water here! (expletive + verb + subject)
  • Here come the boys! (expletive + verb + subject)


3) Sentences begun with emphasized adjectives: (as in the eight beatitudes):

  • Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Happy is the man who finds a good wife.


4) Sentences begun with certain adverbials and comparative phrases: Over the gate, across the path, even more important/rewarding, not only.

  • Even more rewarding was the applause on him.
  • Not only were we called, we were also fed by them.


The Subject and the Predicate: Classifications

The subject of a sentence may be simple, compound, or complete. It is simple when it is made up of the headnoun alone; compound, when it is made up of two headnouns joined by a co-ordinating conjunction; and complete, when it is made up of the headnoun(s) and all the accompanying modifiers:

  • Obinna is handsome. (single subject)
  • Obinna and Okezie are obedient. (compound subject)
  • One of the boys in this class got an award. (complete subject)
  • Any boy who is obedient gets an award. (complete subject).


In the same vein. the predicate may be simple, compound, or complete. It is simple with only one verb (i.e. a predicator): compound, if it shows two or more co-ordinate verbs; and complete, if it contains the verb(s) and all the accompanying modifiers.

  • Eze talks. (simple predicator)
  • He talks flippantly/always. (complete predicate)
  • He eats and talks in a big way. (compound verb)

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