What is the Subject of a Sentence?

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Subjects

A subject, along with a verb, completes a sentence. Every sentence must have a subject and a verb. Always be looking for the subject in a sentence because it has to be there somewhere. Look this first example: “Running is good for you.” The verb right here is “is”. What is the subject of this sentence?


The way you can find the subject is by looking for the person or thing that’s doing the action in the sentence. What “is” in this sentence? Running is. So, running would be the subject. Think of another example: He rode his bike. Road is the verb here.


You can just ask the question, “Who is writing? Who is the person or the thing doing the action here? Well, the action is writing. Who is writing? He is writing, so he would be the subject. “She is cheerful.” Who is cheerful? She is cheerful, so she would be the subject. Now, this is going to get a little bit more complicated. “She is cheerful, but her friend looks sad.” Right here you see a verb: cheerful. Who is cheerful? She is cheerful. She is the one doing the action in the sentence which is being cheerful. She is the subject.


Look further down the sentence and you see another verb: looks. What is the subject over here? Can there be two subjects in a sentence? There can. Notice the word but. But is what we call a conjunction because it joins two clauses together. We have sentences, and but is joining them together to make them one. If we have two sentences being joined together by but, that means we must have two subjects and two verbs.


We found one subject and one verb, and we found the other verb, so we’re still looking for another subject. What could the subject be? Could it be “Her looks sad”? That wouldn’t make sense. Remember, the subject is who or what is doing the action. Someone is looking sad at the sentence. Who is looking sad? The friend is looking sad, so friend is the second subject.


Every sentence has a subject and a verb, but you may come across some sentences like this: “Go to your room.” The verb here is go. Where is the subject in this sentence? Well, the subject is what we call an “understood you”. It’s an understood you because it’s understood that you are the subject of this sentence, so it doesn’t even need to be included. We could actually read the sentence as, “You, go to your room,” but we don’t always speak like that. Sometimes we leave the you out of the sentence, so we just have a verb. Nevertheless, there still is a subject. It’s just not included in the sentence.



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Last updated: 04/19/2018

 

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