Monday, 18 February 2013

The Subject Element of a Clause

In statements, the subject element usually appears before the verb:

Snow fell hard.

And after the first verb in questions:

Is she really going to wear that?

In third person present tense, the subject controls whether the verb is singular or plural:

He sees you.       They see you. 

The subject also controls how certain objects and complements are formed:

I slapped myself. He slapped himself. They slapped themselves. 
Amy's my friend. Amy and Holly are my friends

What Can be a Subject?

Noun phrases, including single nouns:

James ran fast. The bus was on time. Steak, ale, and cake are available. 


I like pumas. That interests me. Who owns this?

Some subordinate clauses:

What she did was out of order. Where you live doesn't count. 

When you string a list of nouns together, they form one subject in the clause, rather than separating them out. For example:

Amy, Alina, and John were laughing. 
            (S)                     (V)      (C)

This isn't S + S + S + V + C, but rather S + V + C


  1. You may have covered this before, but what about "I"?
    John, Teyla and I went through the gate.
    But what if you want to introduce the name of the person who is "I"? How would you do that?
    John, Teyla and myself, Lola, went through the gate?

    Louise Sorensen
    louise3anne twitter

  2. Thank you for you comment Louise. I would probably just go with 'I' and introduce the POV character's name at another point. Probably through dialogue.