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Have you ever wondered what makes a sentence complete and meaningful? It all comes down to two fundamental parts: subjects and predicates. Just like a story needs characters and actions, a sentence needs subjects to tell us who or what it's about and predicates to tell us what the subject is doing. Understanding these basic components can transform your writing and make your sentences more powerful and clear.

Welcome, students and educators! This guide is perfect for students from middle school to high school who want to improve their grammar skills, as well as teachers looking for effective ways to explain sentence structure. By mastering subjects and predicates, you'll be able to create sentences that are not only grammatically correct but also engaging and expressive.

What are the two main parts of sentences?

Sentences consist of two basic parts: subjects and predicates.
The subject is a word or word group that tells whom or what the sentence is about.
The predicate is a word or word group that tells something about the subject

SUBJECT                     PREDICATE 
Several birds        |     perched on the fence. 

Where did              | you                 | put the mail?

The Simple Predicate and the Complete Predicate

The simple predicate, or verb, is the main word or word group that tells something about the subject.

The simple predicate may be a one-word verb or a verb phrase.

A verb phrase is a main verb with one or more helping verbs.

The complete predicate includes the simple predicate and all words that modify the simple predicate and complete its meaning.

  • To warm them up, the coach gave the team a pep talk. 
  • To warm them up, the coach gave the team a pep talk. [To warm them up tells why the coach gave the pep talk. The team and a pep talk are objects that complete the meaning of the verb.] 

  • Has the mail been sorted today
  • Has the mail been sorted today? [Today tells when the mail has been sorted.] 

  • The tide was rising. 
  • The tide was rising. [If no words modify or complete the meaning of the simple predicate, the simple predicate and the complete predicate are the same.]

Compound Verbs

Some sentences contain two or more verbs that share the same subject. These verbs are called compound verbs. The parts of a compound verb are usually joined by the conjunction and, but, or or

  • The clerk has already opened the cash register and counted the money. [The verbs has opened and counted have the same subject, clerk.] 
  • Isabella bought a gift but forgot to bring it to the party. [The verbs bought and forgot have the same subject, Isabella.]

Predicates Quiz

Decide whether the underlined word or group of words is a complete predicate, simple predicate, or compound verb


Understanding the roles of subjects and predicates is essential for crafting clear and effective sentences. Whether you're writing an essay, telling a story, or communicating your thoughts, knowing how to identify and use these fundamental parts of a sentence will greatly enhance your writing skills. For students, this knowledge will improve your grades and help you express yourself more clearly. For teachers, this guide provides a comprehensive resource for explaining these crucial grammar concepts to your students.
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


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