Helping Kids with Grammar: The Predicate

The sentence is one of the most basic concepts in grammar which students learn while they were in primary school. Perhaps, everyone already knows that a sentence is made up of related words, and is considered to be the most basic grammatical unit which expresses a complete thought. But did you know the different parts of a sentence? This article will define one of the most common parts, which is the predicate, and provide some examples that you can use to better understand the concept.

What is a Predicate?

Before explaining what a predicate is, another part of a sentence will be first discussed. This related concept is the subject. Simply put, a subject refers to what or whom the sentence is all about, and it comes in the form of a noun or a pronoun.

The predicate, on the other hand, is the part of the sentence which says something or provides additional information about the subject in the sentence. Its main component is the verb, therefore, it either states the action or the state of being of the subject.

Examples:

  • The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most powerful space telescopes ever made.

 

The italicized part, which is the predicate in this sample sentence, provides additional information about “the Hubble Space Telescope.” (main verb= is)

 

  • Daniel gazed across the starry night sky.

 

In this example, the predicate “gazed across the starry night sky” states the action of the subject “Daniel.” (main verb= gazed)

 

  • She tore the note and threw it in the trash bin.

 

Just like in the previous example, the italicized compound predicate tells the actions of the subject (she). (main verbs= tore; threw)

 

  • Renz and Irish are always seen together.

 

The predicate “are always seen together” says something about the compound subject “Renz and Irish.” (main verb= are)

  • Daenerys Targaryen is so badass.

 

The predicate “is so badass” tells the state of being of the subject “Daenerys Targaryen.” (main verb= is)

 

  • I played computer games and watched movies over the weekend.

 

The compound predicate in the sentence above is composed of the italicized words, and the subject is the pronoun “I.” (main verbs= played; watched)

Important Terms to Remember

  1. 1.       Simple Predicate-  the simple predicate consists of only the main verb.

 

Example: Drew cooked lasagna for everyone.

 

The simple predicate in this example is the underlined verb.

 

  1. 2.       Complete Predicate- unlike the simple predicate, the complete predicate consists of the main verb and all the other words that modify it.

 

Example: Irina is indeed a beautiful lady.

 

                    The simple predicate in this sentence is the word “is,” but if you’re asked to identify the complete predicate, you must include all the words that come after it.

 

  1. 3.       Compound Predicate- the compound predicate consists of two or more predicates joined together by a conjunction.

 

Example: The teenage boy looked around and pocketed a can of beer.

 

In this sample sentence, the compound predicate consists of two predicates (red and blue) joined together by the conjunction “and.”

 

  1. 4.       Predicate Modifier- as the name suggests, this simply modifies the predicate or the action. The predicate modifier tells how, when, or why the action in the sentence occurred.

 

Example: The homeless man drank the coffee in a hurry.

The underlined predicate modifier tells how the homeless man drank the coffee.

Final Thoughts

The predicate is one of the most basic requirements for a group of words to be considered a sentence. Without a predicate, a sentence would never exist. Although this seems too simple and a thorough discussion is not required, a deep understanding of this concept is actually very important for you to adequately express your thoughts and emotions in everyday speech and in writing.

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