Principal Parts of the Sentence

Principal Parts of the Sentence

Correct understanding of sentence structure is a necessary condition for learning English. Therefore, it is important to know that each sentence consists of certain parts (members) that help to understand its meaning and the information contained in it.

In general, a sentence can be divided into two main parts: the Subject and the Predicate. The subject is the part of the sentence that indicates the person or thing that is being talked about in the sentence, and the Predicate is the part of the sentence that contains the verb and indicates the action that occurs with the subject. For example, in the sentence “The cat is sleeping.”, “The cat” is the subject, and “is sleeping” is the predicate.

Also, a sentence can include secondary members: Object, Attribute and Adverbial Modifier. For example, in the sentence “She gave me a book yesterday.”, “a book” is an object, “yesterday” is a Adverbial Modifier, and “me” is an Attribute. Therefore, knowledge of the main and secondary members of the sentence is necessary for the correct understanding and construction of English sentences.

The Subject

In English grammar, the subject defines a person, object, or idea that performs an action or is in a certain state in a sentence. The subject can be expressed in different ways, depending on its type.

To find the subject in a sentence, you need to pay attention to the verb and ask yourself “what?” or “who?” performs an action Example:

  • Tom plays football. Verb – plays. Question to the verb – “who?” The answer is Tom.
  • The book is on the table. The The verb –  is. Question to the verb – “what?” The answer is – The

The main types of subjects in the English language

There are three types of subjects in the English language: Simple Subject, Compound Subject, and Full Subject.

A simple subject consists of one main word, such as a pronoun or a noun without an article, and answers the question What? (what?) or Who? (who?).


  • She is beautiful
  • Matthew forgot to call me
  • Students often skip their classes

A compound subject consists of two or more simple subjects connected with a predicate.


  • My friend and I go jogging every Sunday
  • There were boys and girls playing together in the school yard
  • Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays are well known all over the world

A Full subject consists of a simple or compound subject and other words related to them, such as articles, possessive pronouns, adjectives, etc.


  • This jacket is not new
  • There is a dog in our garden
  • My silk polka-dot skirt and cotton blouse are dirty

Ways of expressing the subject

A subject can be expressed by a noun or a pronoun, but it can also be expressed by a verb form in various forms, examples of which are the participle, gerund, infinitive, numeral, or other parts of speech.

  • John’s car is fast
  • She loves it.
  • To swim in the ocean is refreshing.
  • Swimming in the ocean, he felt refreshed.
  • The running water was soothing
  • Twenty people showed up
  • Never give up!

In some sentences of the English language, the subject may be omitted, and the sentence may consist only of the predicate part (predicate). This usually applies to sentences that express commands, prohibitions, requests, and other similar expressions, since the subject is obvious from the context.

  • Silence!
  • Bring me some water
  • Take out the trash

The Predicate

The Predicate in English is a part of a sentence that indicates the action, state or relationship of the subject to another element of the sentence. A predicate usually contains a verb or a verb phrase and can be composed of one or more parts.

For example, in the sentence “She is reading a book”, the predicate is “is reading a book”, indicating the action performed by the subject “she”. In the sentence “The cake was baked by my sister”, the predicate is “was baked by my sister”, which indicates the state of the object “cake” and its relation to the subject “my sister”.

The predicate can have different forms depending on the time, person, number and gender of the subject. For example, in the simple present tense it has the form of a verb in the third person singular, and in the past tense – the form of an adjective.

The main types of predicates in the English language

In the English language, the predicate is divided into three types: Simple Predicate, Compound Predicate and Full / Complete Predicate.

  • Simple Predicate  is a part of the sentence that indicates the action or state of the subject. It consists of one verb or a verb phrase that answers the question “what does the subject do?” or “in what state is the subject?”. For example: “The cat sleeps”, “She is reading a book”.
  • Compound Predicate is a predicate that contains two or more verbs describing the same action of the subject. This type of predicate is used to strengthen or strengthen an action. For example: “She sings and dances”, “He works hard and plays hard”.
  • Full / Complete Predicate  is a predicate that contains all the words that describe the action or state of the subject in the sentence. It includes the main verb and all auxiliary words that indicate time, quantity, manner, etc. For example: “She has been studying for three hours”, “The children were playing happily in the park”.

Video – Subject and Predicate for Kids

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