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The Predicate

The predicate of every sentence contains a verb; for,. as we have seen, the verb is the part of speech used in making assertions. The verb of a sentence is sometimes called the predicate verb.

The predicate of a simple sentence may be:

1. A verb:

Dogs bark. Birds sing. Flowers bloom. Ducks swim.

2. A verb and its complement:

John lives in the city. Robins build nests in trees. Longfellow was called the children's poet.

We notice that besides the verb in the examples just given other words are added to the verbs to complete the sense.

The complement of a verb is that which is added to the verb to complete its meaning.

The verbs that require a complement are verbs of incomplete predication.

1. The tired camels may reach the spring.

2. The children love her.

Write other sentences using as the complement of intransitive verbs, a noun, a pronoun, an adjective, a phrase, a clause, and an adverb.

The predicate of a sentence may be enlarged or modified by:-

1. An adverb:

1. The mist rose slowly.

2. The wind blew fiercely.

2. An adverbial phrase:

1. The river empties into the lake.

2. Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation with fearless independence.

3. The street was filled with a hurrying throng.

4. The farmer plans to make hay in pleasant weather.

5. He worked to win the prize.

6. He studied to master his profession.

7. The physicians did all in their power to prolong the life of their distinguished patient.

3. A clause:

1. Go where glory waits thee.

2. Wait till the enemy comes near.

3. The good soldier fights that he may win.

It is evident that all the modifiers of the predicate are adverbial in their nature.

In our treatment of the sentence, it has been our purpose to make clear the two-fold nature of the sentence, - the subject element, and the predicate element.

It will be seen that the modifiers of the subject partake of the nature of the adjective, and are adjective elements, while all additions to the predicate are adverbial elements.

This simple division of the sentence, if borne in mind, will make the most complicated sentences easy to understand.

Study the following sentences so that you may be able to give the predicate verb in each. Name also the kind of modifier of each predicate verb.

1. The general bowed gracefully.

2. Mr. Smith was the tallest man of the party.

3. The apples this year are small and scarce.

4. Heaven is not gained at a single bound.

5. He tried his best to make everybody happy.

6. The boatman found several people on the island.

7. My spirit vainly tries to find some sure interpreter.

8. They crowned him long ago,

On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds, With a diadem of snow.

Write sentences using as modifiers of the predicate, the adverb, the adverbial phrase, and the adverbial clause.


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