Recognize the Order of Subject and Predicate

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In English the subject comes before the verb in most sentences. This order is sometimes represented as Subject-Verb-Object (SVO). Some exceptions to this normal word order are discussed below

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                       Sentences in English


In ‘commands’ and ‘requests’ the subject is usually not stated. The predicate is the entire sentence. The pronoun ‘you’ is understood to be the subject. Examples are: [You] Listen! [You] Please see me. [You Be careful.


Questions frequently begin with a verb or a helping verb or the words ‘who, whom, what, when, where, why, or how.’ examples are: Did he reply? Have you read Nikki Giovanni’s poetry? What do they sing?


In these cases, the subject generally follows the verb or helping verb. To find the subject of a question, rearrange the words to form a statement. Example: S: He P: did reply. S: You P: have re4ad Nikki Giovanni’s poetry. S: They P: do sing what.


A sentence written in ‘inverted order’, in which the predicate comes before the subject, serves to add emphasis to the subject. Examples are: Under the moonlight (P) ‘sat’ the old cypress ‘tree’ (S). Above the forest ‘circled (P) three ‘hawks’ (S).


Remember, a word in a prepositional phrase is never the subject. When the word ‘there’ or ‘here’ begins a sentence and is followed by a form of the verb ‘to be’, the subject follows the verb. The word ‘there’ or ‘here is’ is almost never the subject. Example: Here ‘are’ (P) the ‘quilts’ (S)from my grandma.


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