Grammar: Predicate

Posted December 22, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Grammar Explanations, Self-Editing, Writing

Every complete sentence contains two parts: a subject and a predicate. The subject is what (or whom) the sentence is about, while the predicate tells something about the subject.

This grammar explanation goes deeper into “The Sentence” to look more closely at the predicate and the ways it can be used within the sentence.

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…an evolving list of the structural rules and principles that determines where words are placed in phrases or sentences as well as how the language is spoken. Sometimes I run across an example that helps explain better or another “also known as”. Heck, there’s always a better way to explain it, so if it makes quicker and/or better sense, I would appreciate suggestions and comments from anyone… Are there areas of grammar with which you struggle? If you’d like to track it, bookmark this page and consider sharing this Grammar Explanation with friends by tweeting it.

Predicate
Credit to: University of Ottawa; Skillin, 400-401
Definition: Every complete sentence contains two parts: a subject and a predicate. The subject is what (or whom) the sentence is about, while the predicate tells something about the subject.

There are, of course, predicate adjectives and predicate nouns.

Types of Predicates
Simple Predicate Definition: Always the verb or verbs that link up with the subject.
Judy runs.

Judy and her dog run on the beach every morning.

I have tried to do it several times.

The audience littered the theatre floor with torn wrappings and spilled popcorn.

A piece of pepperoni pizza would satisfy his hunger.

Legend:

  1. Yellow indicates the subject
  2. Green indicates the predicate
Complete Predicate Definition: The verb with its modifiers and object/complement.
Judy and her dog run on the beach every morning.

I have tried to do it several times.

The audience littered the theatre floor with torn wrappings and spilled popcorn.

A piece of pepperoni pizza would satisfy his hunger.

Legend:

  1. Blue indicates the complete predicate
Compound Predicate Definition: More than one predicate (and sometimes more than one subject), a.k.a., a compound subject and/or a compound predicate, in one sentence
We shall run and not be weary.

We laboriously climbed, slipped, slithered, found precarious toeholds and handholds and at last pulled ourselves over the edge of the cliff.

Team pennants, rock posters, and family photographs covered the boy’s bedroom walls.

Her uncle and she walked slowly through the Inuit art gallery and admired the powerful sculptures exhibited there.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the subject(s)
  2. Blue indicates the predicates
See Predicate Adjective
See Predicate Noun
Resultative Definition: Appears as predicates of sentences and expresses that something or someone has undergone a change in state as the result of the completion of an event (Wikipedia).
Form: verb (denotes event) + postverbal noun phrase (denotes entity that changed) + resultative phrase (denotes state achieved as the result of the verb action*)

* Verb action can be represented by adjective, prepositional phrase, particle, +++

Example:
Legend:

  1. Green indicates the verb
  2. Blue indicates the resultative predicate / change of state

The man wiped the table clean.

Mary painted the fence blue.

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