What is a Predicate? Definition, Examples of Sentence Predicates

Predicate definition: A predicate is a grammatical term that is part of a clause that includes the verb and the words that tell what the subject does. It is also called a complete predicate.

What is a Predicate?

What are predicates? In its most basic form, a predicate is what the subject does. It contains the verb and any object or modifiers that are governed by the verb.

In the case of the example below, a predicate may be a single verb.

Subject and Predicate Example:

  • Ivan jumped.

In this example, “Ivan” is the subject and “jumped” is the verb. “Jumped” is the predicate of the sentence.

A predicate may also include additional modifiers with the verb that tell what the subject does. This is called a complete predicate.

what is complete predicate or a sentence

Predicate Example:

  • Ivan jumped far.

In this example, “Ivan” is the subject and “jumped far” is the predicate. Here, far is an adverb to describe how Ivan jumped.

Additional Predicate Examples:

  • Ivan jumped higher than Andrew.

In this example, “jumped higher than Andrew” is the predicate.

  • Ivan read a book to the students.

In this example, the predicate of the sentence is “read a book to the students.”

Examples of Predicates in Sentences

Additional examples:

  • Taryn laughed.
  • Taryn laughed loudly.
  • Taryn laughed loudly at the joke.

Each italicized phrase consists of the predicate. Each italicized phrase tells what the subject, “Taryn,” does.

Examples of Predicates in Clauses

What is a Predicate definition grammarA predicate may be in an independent or a dependent clause. The examples above are of predicates in independent clauses.

Now, let’s look at a predicate in a dependent clause.

Example of Predicate in Dependent Clause:

  • Because his bike was stolen, Rob had to buy a new one.

In the above example, two predicates exist.

The independent clause (the part of the sentence following the comma) contains the predicate: “had to buy a new one.” This is what Rob does.

The underlined portion of the sentence is a dependent clause. It contains the predicate “was stolen.” The subject here is “his bike.”

Different Types of Predicates

Simple Predicates

whats a predicate verbWhat is a simple predicate? A simple predicate is just as its name suggests: simple. The simple predicate is the verb or verb phrase without its objects, modifiers, etc.

The simple predicate can be as simple as just one word. This one word will always be a verb.

  • Sean spoke.
    • Here, the predicate is a single word, the verb “spoke”.

Verb Phrase Predicates:

A simple predicate can also be a verb phrase, so long as there is no objects, modifiers, etc.

  • Sean has spoken.
    • Here, the simple predicate is two words and includes the verb phrase, “has spoken.”

Multi-word Predicates:

A predicate can also be more than one word. This will at least include a verb or verb phrase.

  • Sean spoke at the convention.
    • Here, the predicate is the verb “spoke” and the prepositional phrase “at the convention.”
  • Sean has spoken at the convention.
    • Here, the predicate is the verb phrase “has spoken” and the prepositional phrase “at the convention.”

Compound Predicates

Examples of a predicate sentenceWhat are compound predicates? A compound predicate contains more than one verb. A compound predicate can include any variation of the predicates described above (except simple predicate) so long as it contains more than one verb.

Compound Predicate Examples:

Here are examples with the verbs “to speak” and “to present:”

  • Sean spoke and presented. (more than one verb)
  • Sean has spoken and presented. (more than one verb with verb phrase)
  • Sean spoke and presented his project at the convention. (more than one verb and multi-word)

Predicate Adjective

What is a predicate adjective? A predicate adjective modifies the subject of a verb. A predicate adjective follows a linking verb.

Predicate Adjective Examples:

  • John is happy.

In this example, “John” is the subject and “is” is the linking verb. “Happy” is an adjective that describes the subject “John” and follows the linking verb.

  • Suzy is pretty.

In this example, “Suzy” is the subject and “is” is the linking verb. “Pretty” is an adjective that describes the subject “Suzy” and follows the linking verb.

Predicate Nominative

what is a subject and predicate What is the predicate nominative? A predicate nominative is a noun that renames subject. A predicate nominative follows a linking verb.

Predicate Nominative Examples:

  • John is a leader.

In this example, “John” is the subject and “is” is the linking verb. “Leader” is a noun that renames the subject “John” and follows the linking verb.

  • Sarah is an athlete.

In this example, “Sarah” is the subject and “is” is the linking verb. “Athlete” is a noun that renames the subject “Sarah” and follows the linking verb.

Summary: What is the Predicate of a Sentence?

Define predicate: The predicate is the part of a sentence or clause containing a verb and stating something about the subject. It includes the verb and anything modifying it. This is also called the complete predicate.

Example of a Predicate:

  • We are ready to get food.

In this sentence, “are ready to get food” is the predicate.

There are also different kinds of predicates:

A simple predicate is the verb or verb phrase with its objects, modifiers, etc.

A compound predicate is a predicate with two or more verbs connected by and.

A predicate adjective modifies the subject of a sentence.

A predicate nominative is a predicate noun that completes a linking verb and renames the subject.

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