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The Parts of a Sentence

In these lessons, we will learn

  • what is a sentence?
  • subject and predicate
  • complete subject and complete predicate
  • simple subject and simple predicate
  • compound subject and compound predicate
Related Topics: More English Lessons

The Sentence

When a number of words (parts of speech) are put together in such a way that they express a complete thought, then they form a sentence.

A sentence is a group of words expressing a complete thought.

Often those who are beginning to learn a language may find it difficult to understand what is meant by a complete thought. Some students punctuate parts of sentences as if they were sentences because they do not realize that some essential element is missing. The following groups of words are not sentences since they do not express a complete thought.


The workers of the company. (This is not a complete thought since it does not specify what the workers did)

Enjoyed the party. (This is not a complete thought since it does not specify who enjoyed the party.)

The above examples are called sentence fragments.

Subject and Predicate

In order to express a complete thought, a sentence must have both a subject and a predicate.

A sentence consists of two parts: the subject and the predicate.

The subject is what (or whom) the sentence is about.
The predicate is the part which says something about the subject.


My friend lives in Japan. (My friend is the subject and lives in Japan is the predicate)

Both girls are experienced swimmers. (Both girls is the subject and are experienced swimmers is the predicate)

Complete Subject and Complete Predicate

In some sentences the subject or the predicate is only a single word, for example

She wept.

But more often, the subject consists of two or more words. The entire subject, regardless of the number of words, is called the complete subject. The entire predicate is called the complete predicate.


The excited crowd rushed into the building. (The excited crowd is the complete subject; rushed into the building is the complete predicate)

Is your bus usually late? (your bus is the complete subject; is usually late is the complete predicate)

How to recognize the complete subject and complete predicate in a sentence? Simple & complete subjects and predicates


The Simple Subject

The simple subject is the main word or group of words in the complete subject. The simple subject does not include the modifiers


The excited crowd rushed into the building. (The complete subject is The excited crowd. The simple subject is crowd)

Is your bus usually late? (The complete subject is your bus. The simple subject is bus)

The Simple Predicate

The simple predicate, or verb, is the main word or group of words within the complete predicate.

The simple predicate may consist of a single verb or a main verb with the helping verbs.


The cat was sleeping in the basket. (The complete predicate is was sleeping in the basket. The simple predicate is was sleeping.}

They had diligently painted the boat. (The complete predicate is had diligently painted the boat. The simple predicate is had painted.)

How to recognize the Simple subject and Simple predicate in a sentence? Simple subjects and simple predicates
A sentence has a subject and predicate and expresses a complete thought.
A simple subject tells what or whom the sentence is about.
A simple subject often, but not always, appears towards the beginning of a sentence.
A simple predicate shows action or existence for the subject.
A simple predicate can have helping verbs.

Compound Subject

A sentence may have two or more simple subjects and two or more simple predicates.

A compound subject consists of tow or more simple subjects joined by a connecting word.


Henry and Freddy joined a football team , (The two simple subjects are Henry  and  Freddy. The connecting word is  and)

Compound Predicate

 A compound predicate is a predicate with two or more verbs joined by a connecting word.


He bought the book and read it , (The two predicate verbs are bought  and  read. The connecting word is and.)

Some sentences have a compound subject and a compound predicate.


Alisa and Harry woke up and went to school , (There are two simple subjects and two simple predicates. The subject nouns are  Alisa  and  Harry. The two predicate verbs are  woke up  and  went. In both cases, the connecting word is  and.)

Compound Subjects and Compound Predicates
A sentence may have more than one simple subject or simple predicate.
Compound subject = two or more simple subjects that have the same predicate (verb).
Compound predicate = two or more simple predicates, or verbs, that have the same subject.


Subject and Predicate Songs

Songs and stories to help you remember what is the subject and predicate of a sentence.
The subject of a sentence tells who or what it's about. The subject is the place where you will find the noun.
The predicate tells something about the subject. The predicate is the place where you'll find the verb. If you combine the subject with the predicate you'll get a sentence that's complete! What is the subject of a sentence?:
Simple Subject and Implied Subject.

Rotate to landscape screen format on a mobile phone or small tablet to use the Mathway widget, a free math problem solver that answers your questions with step-by-step explanations.

You can use the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice Algebra or other math topics. Try the given examples, or type in your own problem and check your answer with the step-by-step explanations.

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