Normal Sentence Pattern in English (Part 1): Subject

subject

verb

complement

modifier

John and I

ate

a pizza

last night

We

studied

“present perfect”

last week

Subject

The subject is the agent of the sentence in the active voice; it is the person or thing that performs or is responsible for the action of the sentence, and it normally precedes the verb. NOTE: Every sentence in English must have a subject. (In this case of commands, the subject [you] is understood.) The subject may be a single noun.

  • Coffee is delicious.
  • Milk contains calcium.

The subject may be a noun phrase. A noun phrase is a group of words ending with a noun. (It CANNOT begin with a preposition.)

  • The book is on the table.
  • That new red car is John’s.

Examples of subjects:

  • We girls are not going to that movie.
  • George likes boats.
  • Mary, John, George, and I went to a restaurant last night.
  • The weather was very bad yesterday.
  • The chemistry professor canceled class today.
  • The bank closed at two o’clock.

    It can act as a pronoun for a noun or can be the subject of an impersonal verb. As the subject of an impersonal verb, the pronoun is not actually used in placed of a noun, but is part of an idiomatic expression.

    • It rains quite often here in the summer.
    • It is hard to believe that is he dead.

    In some sentences, the true subject does not appear in normal subject position. There can act as a pseudo-subject and is treated like a subject when changing word order to a question. However, the true subject appears after the verb, and the number of the true subject controls the verb.

    There          was a fire in that building last month.

    Verb (singular)     subject (singular)

    Was there a fire in that building last month?

    Verb           subject

    There were many students in the room.

    Verb (plural)     subject (plural)

    Were there many students in the room?

    Verb                 subject

    Referensi:

    CLIFFS TOEFL PREPARATION GUIDE By. MAICHAEL A. PYLE, M.A. & MARRY ELLEN MUNOZ PAGE, M.A.

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