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The Subject

The simplest subject of a sentence, either simple, complex, or compound, is a noun or its equivalent, unmodified. There are several equivalents for the noun. Study these sentences for them:

1. The train has arrived.

2. They are coming.

3. Some came early.

4. To eat satisfies hunger.

5. That he was kind makes his bravery more valuable.

It will be seen from these sentences that the subject of a sentence may be

1. A noun.

2. A pronoun.

3. An adjective.

4. A phrase.

5. A clause.

To parse the subject, if it is a noun or pronoun or an adjective used as a noun, state:

1. The class.

2. The person.

3. The number.

4. The gender.

5. The case.

6. The reason for the case.

A noun or pronoun used as the subject of a finite verb is in the nominative case.

In parsing the phrase, the adjective, or the clause, used as a subject, state that it is used as a noun and is the subject of the finite verb.

The subject of a finite verb is in the nominative case.

Name the simple subject in each of the following sentences. Tell whether it is a noun, or one of the equivalents of a noun. If an equivalent of a noun, state which one.

1. The roses are in full bloom.

2. They will return this evening.

3. The well need no physician.

4. Running is violent exercise.

5. To succeed requires constant effort

6. Who is the man across the street?

7. That he was brave needs no proof.

8. Some must work to keep the wolf from the door.

9. Do you know the difficulties to be overcome?

Write sentences using as the subject of the verb each of the equivalents of the noun.

Tell which equivalent you have used in each sentence.

The subject of a simple sentence may be enlarged or modified as will appear from an examination of the following sentences:

1. The wild waves beat upon the shore.

2. The songs of birds filled the air.

3. John's father gave him a watch.

4. My uncle gave me a bicycle.

5. Longfellow, the author of so many beautiful poems suited to childhood, was called the children's poet.

6. A desire to get rich makes many men industrious.

7. The farmers, having gathered a bountiful harvest, laughed at the rigors of winter.

8. All who had finished their work were dismissed.

State what kind of modifier of the subject is used in each of these sentences.

The subject of a simple sentence may be modified by:

1. An adjective: Six leaden balls on their errand sped.

2. A possessive noun: The nation's legends are dear to us.

3. A possessive pronoun: His words and his example are our legacy.

4. An appositive: The daughter of Nokomis, his gentle mother, died.

5. A phrase:

A song of joy rang in his ears. Striving to strengthen the weak was his chosen work. Footprints pointing towards a wigwam were a sign of invitation.

6. A clause: Broken are the spells that bound you.

All words, phrases or clauses used to modify the subject of a sentence have the force of adjectives.

A study of the italicized words in the sentences just given will make clear the kind of modifier of each subject.

Study the subjects in the following sentences and give the modifiers of each. Name the kind of modifier in each sentence.

1. The noise of the workmen disturbed the invalid.

2. The most interesting part of the story remains to be told.

3. Their dog chased the farmer's sheep.

4. The commander's orders were to let no man enter the lines.

5. The plan to study together was successful.

6. The officer of the day, Major Henry P. Whitney, had seen service on many a battlefield.

7. The object of the journey was to give the tired merchant entire change of scene and freedom from care.

8. An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves.

9. Trembling with fear, they reached the house. 10. The Golden Rule, which contains the very life and soul of politeness, should guide all our acts.

Write sentences using each kind of subject modifier. Tell the kind of modifier used in each sentence.


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