Answered By: Paul Lai
Last Updated: Aug 13, 2015     Views: 2605

Every complete sentence has a subject and a predicate. The subject is the element at the beginning of a sentence that performs the action:

  •    The dog ran in circles.

  •    I stubbed my toe.

  •    His car would not start.


The predicate is what comes after the subject. In a simple sentence, the predicate can be just a verb (the action happening in the sentence):

  •    She cried.

In the predicate, there may also be an object (the thing receiving the action):

  •    He kicked the ball.

In this example, he is the subject, and kicked the ball is the predicate, made up of a verb and an object.


Academic writing is often more complicated than this, but these are the essential building blocks. To have a complete sentence, a writer must have a subject as well as a predicate that contains a verb. 


Additional Resources:


Further Questions?

Would you like a current or future assignment to be reviewed by the Writing Center?  If so please visit the Writing Center's Paper Review Website and make an appointment with us! 

Do you have other general writing questions? Ask OASIS.

Other questions about your doctoral capstone or the Form & Style review? E-mail the Dissertation Editors at [email protected].

Want to peruse other writing resources? Go to the Writing Center’s homepage

More Information

Need more information? Ask us!

Or browse Quick Answers by Topic.