What is a predicate?

In traditional grammar, a sentence consists of two parts:

  • a subject
  • and a predicate which states something about the subject

Consider the following sentence:

  • Bill likes soccer.

'Bill' is the subject and ' likes soccer' acts as the predicate (a subsequent description of the subject which is headed with the verb likes.)

Predicates provide information about the subject, such as what the subject is doing or what the subject is like. It must contain a verb but may also contain other sentence elements. These elements may be objects (direct and indirect objects), adverbials...

Examples of predicates

  • He laughs. (Predicate containing only a verb)
  • She writes poems. (Direct object)
  • They gave me a gift . (Indirect object and a direct object)
  • He saw her in the hospital . (Adverbial)

When the subject and the predicate are connected with a linking verb, the predicate is either nominal, adjectival or adverbial complement:

Nominal predicates:

  • He is the president.
  • These are the candidates.

Adjectival predicates:

  • She is beautiful.
  • They are careless.

Adverbial complement:

  • He is in the kitchen.
  • We are in the house.

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