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
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.