What Is the Predicate of a Sentence? (with Examples)

What Is the Predicate of a Sentence? (with Examples)

The predicate is the part of a sentence (or clause) which tells us what the subject does or is. To put it another way, the predicate is everything that is not the subject.




At the heart of the predicate is a verb. In addition to the verb, a predicate can contain direct objects, indirect objects, and various kinds of phrases.

A sentence has two parts: the subject and the predicate. The subject is what the sentence is about, and the predicate is a comment about the subject.

Examples of Predicates of Sentences

Here are some examples of predicates. In each example, the predicate of the sentence is shaded and the verb in the predicate is in bold.

  • Elvis lives.

  • Adam lives in Bangor.

  • The telegram contained exciting news.

  • The girls in our office are experienced instructors.

  • They are experienced instructors, who acquired their experience in France.

Predicates in Clauses

A clause contains a subject and predicate too. The examples below are all clauses not sentences. The predicate is shaded and the verb of the clause is in bold.

  • who lives with her mother
  • (The subject is the relative pronoun who.)

  • which was somewhat unexpected
  • (The subject is the relative pronoun which.)

  • that points to the North Pole
  • (The subject is the relative pronoun that.)

Predicates within Predicates

It is common for a clause to feature within a sentence predicate. For example:

  • who lives with our mother
  • (This is a clause. It is has its own subject and predicate.)

  • Jane is my youngest sister, who lives with our mother.
  • (Notice how the clause who lives with our mother (which has its own subject and predicate) is part of the longer sentence predicate.)

Predicate in a Sentence Starting There

When a sentence starts "There" + [verb to be], the word there is the not the subject. It is part of the predicate. Look at this example:

  • There is a guy who works down our chip shop who swears he's Elvis.
The subject is a guy who works down our chip shop who swears he's Elvis. Everything else is the predicate. It helps if you write it like this:

  • A guy who works down our chip shop who swears he's Elvis is there.
In structure, it is no different from this:

  • He is here.



See also:

What is a clause?
What is a subject?
What is a sentence?
What is a predicate adjective?
Glossary of grammatical terms
 
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