Breadcrumbs

Subjects of sentences

Video: Grammar Tips, "I" vs "me" by Helen Wilkie from Helen Wilkie's Writing and Communication Tips (new tab). (Watching time: 1m:24secs)

Instructions: Hover or tap the questions below to see the reason for the answers given in the quiz.

1. Question: Who or what is the subject of the sentence below?
Against the odds, the bungee jumper survived the 300m fall into the crocodile infested river when her bungee chord broke.

the bungee jumper
Why: In loose terms, the subject is the person who performs the action in the verb. In this case it is the bungee jumper, and the action is "survived"

2. Select the sentence/s that is/are true.

  A sentence must have at least one subject and a main verb.
  A subject is not essential in a sentence, but a verb is necessary
  It is equally okay to say "the cat and I slept all day" or "I and the cat slept all day".
  A verb can have more than one thing occupying the subject position.

A sentence must have at least one subject and a main verb.
A verb can have more than one thing occupying the subject position.
Why: All sentences must have something or someone occupying the subject position. Even a command such as "sit down" has an implicit subject: "(you) sit down". It is also true that there can be several people or things occupying the same subject position... such as "the cat and I...".
A sentence is not a sentence unless it has a main verb. [Link here to sentence fragments lesson].

3. Select the most appropriate pronoun as subject for this sentence.
The doctor and the nurse performed the operation under extreme conditions.

They
Why: "They" is the only item on the list that is a plural subject pronoun. (He = singular subject pronoun | John and Margaret = proper nouns, not pronouns | them = plural object pronoun)

4. True or false
If a sentence has more than one clause in it, each clause must have its own subject/s and verb.

True
Why: A sentence can have a number of clauses in it (often separated by a conjunction). Each clause needs to have its own subject/verb combination. Without this the sentence structure falls over and the reader cannot understand the sentence.