As tedious as it can be, learning grammar is essential to mastering a language. Luckily, subjects and predicates are pretty straightforward. The subjects are the people, objects, etc. of a sentence, and the predicates tell you what the subject does. In this guide, we’ll give you a detailed look into predicates and how to spot them.
A simple predicate refers to the action performed by the subject. All predicates contain verbs, which are the “action” words of the sentence.
The simple predicate can either be a single word:
The boy drinks water.
Or a verb phrase:
The boy has been drinking water.
In the above sentences, the simple predicate is the part of the sentence that indicates what the subject (boy) is doing (drinking water).
Check out a few more examples of simple predicates:
Everyone at the party ate a piece of cake.
Patrick is dressing up as a skeleton for Halloween.
The turtle likes to swim in the lake.
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A complete predicate refers to the verb and its modifiers, or the words attached to the verb that change the meaning. While the simple predicate refers to only the verb or verb phrase, the complete predicate involves more than one grammatical element. These could include adverbs, prepositional phrases, adjectives, etc.
Some apples have fallen off the tree.
“Apples” is the subject here. The rest of the sentence indicates what happened to the apples, making it the complete predicate.
Sentences can also have multiple subjects and predicates. For these, the same rules apply – the predicate defines what the subject is doing or its state of being:
The woman couldn’t find her sunglasses, so she wore a hat.
I am buying a new knife because ours are too dull for steak.
After the crew set sail, the pirate lost the treasure map.
Proofreading and Editing
We hope this guide has given you a clearer understanding of simple and complete predicates. If you’re looking for someone to check your writing for errors, we offer expert proofreading services for ESL students, authors, professionals, and businesses. Want to try before you buy? You can send in a 500-word sample, free of charge!