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Subject, Predicate and Objects

Teacher/Instructor Katie Aquino
Katie Aquino

Writing, Grammar, Literature, ACT Prep
Education: M.Ed.,Stanford University

Katie is an enthusiastic teacher who strives to make connections between literature and student’s every day lives.

Subject, predicate, and objects are the three different components when breaking down a sentence. The subject is the "who" or "what" of the sentence, the predicate is the verb, and the object is any noun or concept that is part of the action of the subject. Learn how to identify the three parts of a sentence.

So we are talking parts of a sentence now and there's three main parts that you're going to want to know anytime you're breaking down a sentence; you're going to want to know the subject, the predicate and the object and this will really help you in a lot of ways. The reason we break down sentences to their different parts is so we can start working on subject verb agreement, we can start taking a look at the different kinds of sentences we have in our writing and we can also look at how different words are working in those sentences, so it's really important to have an understanding of the basics.
Alright, the first and probably the most important thing in a sentence is its subject; that's who or what is doing the action. Then you have the predicate and I'm going to let you in on a little secret here, the predicate is just a fancy word for a verb; it's the action or state of being that the subject's completing and I know that sounds really complicated but it's the verb of the sentence. And then an object in a sentence is any noun or concept that's part of that action that's being done, it usually completes the thought.
So let's take a look at the example, "The streetlights shine brightly in the moon." So who or what is this sentence about? Well, it's pretty easy; it's focused on the streetlights, so there we've got our subject, alright? Once we've got that subject we just need to ask ourselves so what is that subject doing? So what are our streetlights doing? They're shining. So shine is our predicate. And then do we have any objects that follow that, that kind of complete the thought? And if we steer along, we've got the moon and the moon's acting as an object in the sentence and there's lots of different kinds of objects. We are not going to go too deeply into that but just know that you can recognize that as an object.
Alright, some tips when you're looking at subjects and predicates in the different kinds of sentences. First of all, it is possible to have compound subjects, so in this sentence we had the streetlights and the lamps, you would identify both of those as the subject of the sentence because they are both doing an action. You can also have a compound predicate, so if the streetlights were shining and flickering, you've got that compound action, it works together but you'd identify both of those as the predicate. And then finally in some tricky sentences, usually commands, you've got an understood subject, so like the sentence, "Go home." I'm not saying, "You go home." but that's understood so you is actually the subject of the sentence even though it doesn't actually exist there in the sentence.
Alright, so I think that's pretty, you got that pretty damned, let's take a look at some of these examples. Take a look at them and see if you can identify subjects, verbs and objects. So we've got "The girl threw the ball to the shortstop." Alright, who or what is doing the action? The girl is doing the action. Alright, so she's our subject, and what's she doing, she threw the ball, so threw is our predicate and then what's that object that's part of the action, she actually threw the ball is acting as an object and we've got another object here because we've got that prepositional phrase at the end; she threw it to the shortstop.
Alright, "The runner sprinted and made it safely to third base." Let's take a look; who or what's doing the action? The runner is the one that's running, making it safely, so we've got the subject. Now here is where it gets a little tricky; what's this runner doing? Well, we know the runner is sprinting so we've got our predicate there but this runner also is making it safely to the third base, so we've got to include that as a predicate and this is one of those compound predicates, alright. And then finally, they made it to the third base, third base is part of that action, so it's our object, alright?
Last one, "The coaches and players celebrated the victory." Who or what is the sentence about? Well, it's about the coaches, they are celebrating, but we've got to also note that the players are also celebrating, so we've got an example of a compound subject here. And what are they doing? We already said they were celebrating, so that's our predicate and the thought that completes that predicate, the object is they are celebrating the victory, so that is our object. So now you've got it down; subjects, predicates, you remember that's just a fancy name for the verb and objects that all work together to make up the sentences. Once you've got those down, the rest of the lessons are going to be pretty easy.