Finding the Subject

Last updated: March 17, 2018 at 11:20 am

flag photoFinding the subject of a sentence is easy when the sentence is written in the subject >> predicate order. For example, in the sentence, “The sun is shining,” we know that we are talking about the sun. Therefore, “the sun,” is the subject, and what we are saying about the sun (is shining) is the predicate.

But the subject of the sentence does not always appear first. And in these cases, it can be difficult to identify the subject. Sometimes, the subject is found at the end of the sentence and at other times it is cluttered between predicate words and phrases.

In interrogative (question) sentences, for example, the word order is reversed. For example, in the interrogative sentence, “How old are you?” the subject (you) appears at the end of the sentence.

Remember too that in imperative (command) sentences, we tend to leave out the subject. For example, in the imperative sentence, “Close the door” the subject (you) is left out. The full sentence would read: You close the door.

In trying to find the subject of the sentence, remember that the subject is what you are talking about, and the predicate is what you are saying about the subject. It might help to rearrange the order of a sentence in order to put it into the subject >> predicate order to make the subject easy to find.

In the examples below, the sentences are rearranged into the “subject >> predicate order” in order to make the subject easy to find.

In the year 1966, Guyana gained independence from the British.

Guyana gained independence from the British in the year 1966.

Before that, the national flag was called the Union Jack.

The national flag was called the Union Jack before that.

Every year, on midnight of May 25th, to remember Guyana’s independence, the Union Jack is lowered.

The Union Jack is lowered every year on the midnight of May 25th to remember Guyana’s Independence.

After the lowering of the Union Jack, the Golden Arrow Head is hoisted.

The Golden Arrow Head is hoisted after the lowering of the Union Jack.

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