THE SUBJECT AND THE PREDICATE
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)