Predicates

The part of a sentence that contains the verb and gives information about the subject is called the predicate. In this lesson, we will discuss it.

"Predicates" in the English Grammar

What Are Predicates?

In traditional grammar, a sentence consists of two parts:

  1. Subject: the person or thing that performs the action of a verb.
  2. Predicate: the part of a sentence that contains the verb and gives information about the subject.

Predicate: Structure

Predicates can be:

  1. Simple predicates
  2. Complex predicates
  3. Compound predicates

Simple Predicates

A predicate can be just a single verb or the main verb and its auxiliaries that show the action in a sentence. It is used to show what the subject of the sentence does.

The frog jumped.

I understand.

I will go.

She was driving.

Complex Predicates

A complex predicate is a verb plus all its dependents (the modifying phrase) that completes the meaning of the sentence.
A complex predicate contains everything except the subject.

She gave birth to a baby on Thursday.

Her guests are arriving early tonight.

Mike has moved to a new town in pursuit of his dream job.

Compound Predicates

A compound predicate gives us two or more details about the same subject (typically without repeating the subject) and has two or more verbs that are joined by a conjunction.

She went to Spain with her friends and visited all the famous tourist attractions.

In this example, 'she' is the subject and 'went to Spain with her friends' and 'visited all the famous tourist attractions' are the compound predicates joined by the conjunction 'and.'

They rushed to the hospital, but were too late.

the predicate of this sentence is the verb 'jumped'

Warning

The following example does not have a compound predicate, because we have a compound sentence with two subjects.

Martha fell downstairs and Mary rushed her to the hospital.

Predicates with Linking Verbs

When the subject and the predicate are connected with a linking verb, the predicate is either nominal, adjectival or adverbial:

  1. Nominal predicates
  2. Adjectival predicates
  3. Adverbial predicates

Nominal Predicates

A predicate nominative (also called a predicative noun) is a noun or group of nouns that comes after a linking verb and describes the subject.

Tip!

A predicate nominative is always a noun or a pronoun.

She is a nurse.

Sean was a policeman.

Adjectival Predicates

An adjectival predicate (also called a predicative adjective) is an adjective that comes after a linking verb and describes the subject.

The baby is cute.

That dress looks gorgeous.

Warning

A predicate adjective is different from an attributive adjective. Attributive adjectives normally come before the noun they modify.

That gorgeous (attributive adjective) dress was expensive (predicate adjective).

Adverbial Predicates

An adverbial predicate consists of a preposition + noun or pronoun or adverb that immediately comes after a linking verb.

Someone is in the kitchen.

I am at a disco.

Review

In this article, we discussed different kinds of predicates. So, what is a predicate? a predicate is everything in a standard declarative sentence except the subject. In other words, the part of a sentence or clause containing a verb and stating something about the subject is called the predicate.

There are three types of predicates in English:

  1. Simple predicate: can be just a single verb or the main verb and its auxiliaries
  2. Complex predicate: is a verb plus all its dependents
  3. Compound predicate: gives us two or more details about the same subject and has two or more verbs that are joined by a conjunction

Predicates are put in three groups when it comes to using linking verbs.

  1. Nominal predicate: is a noun or group of nouns that comes after a linking verb.
  2. Adjectival predicate: is an adjective that comes after a linking verb.
  3. Adverbial predicate: consists of preposition + noun or pronoun or adverb that immediately comes after a linking verb.

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