Grammar Tips: Predicate Nouns
  • 3-minute read
  • 10th July 2023

Grammar Tips: Predicate Nouns

A predicate noun (also known as a predicate nominative) follows a linking verb and gives us more information about the subject of a sentence.

Learning or refreshing your English grammar skills isn’t always a straightforward task, and to understand predicate nouns, we need to build on our understanding of other areas of grammar. So let’s do a quick recap of the basics around nouns, subjects, and verbs, all of which are in our definition of a predicate noun.

Nouns and Verbs


Nouns are also known as “naming words”. Nouns give names to people, places, things, and concepts. Examples of nouns are Abraham Lincoln, New York, book, and beauty.


The subject of a sentence is the thing or person that the sentence is about. The subjects are in bold type in these examples:

My book is interesting.

New York is a wonderful town.


We use verbs to refer to actions. Some examples are run, touch, or laugh. Verbs can also refer to states of being: have, need, know, and so on. Linking verbs are a special category of verbs, which we’ll look at later in this post.

Predicate Nouns

Here’s our definition again: A predicate noun follows a linking verb and gives us more information about the subject of a sentence.

So we know what a noun is, and we know what a subject is. But what is a linking verb?

Linking Verbs

Linking verbs make a connection between a subject and a predicate noun. But they don’t tell us what the subject is doing because they’re not action verbs. The three types of linking verbs are described below.

Linking Verbs Describing a State of Being

Be, seem, and become all describe a state of being.

Linking Verbs Derived From the Five Senses

Smells, tastes, and sounds all relate to the senses.

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Linking Verbs Describing a Change of State or a Lack of Change

Grow, remain, and prove all relate to change or stasis (a lack of change).

Examples of Predicate Nouns in a Sentence

This is where we put our different parts of grammar together so we can see how a predicate noun fits with a subject and a linking verb. Consider this example:

Amelia is the head chef of the restaurant.

The predicate noun (head chef) tells us more about the subject (Amelia) and follows a linking verb (is). Now take a look at this sentence:

My song sounds like a hit.

The predicate noun (hit) tells us more about the subject (my song) and follows a linking verb (sounds).

Finally, consider this sentence:

After a close vote, he remained the club president.

This predicate noun (club president) tells us more about the subject (he) and follows a linking verb (remained).


A predicate noun renames, explains, or further defines the subject of a sentence. It always follows a linking verb.


Is a predicate noun the same as the predicate of a sentence?

No, a predicate noun is often part of the predicate of the sentence, but the predicate of a sentence also contains the verb. To find out more about the predicate of a sentence, check out our blog post.

How can I be sure I’ve used predicate nouns correctly?

Our experts can check your writing, so get in touch!

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