School House Rock: Subjects and Predicates

As a kid, Saturday morning included not only Scooby Doo cartoons, but also School House Rock, cartoons with catchy phrases to help kids learn grammar, U.S. History, math, and science. What better way to learn grammar than to get some crazy tune stuck in your head?

First, watch The Tale of Mr. Morton. Believe me, you'll be humming this until bedtime.

Next, an explanation of Subjects and Predicates from the University of Ottawa.
"Every complete sentence contains two parts: a subject and a predicate. The subject is what (or whom) the sentence is about, while the predicate tells something about the subject. In the following sentences, the predicate is enclosed in brackets { }.

     Judy {runs}.
     Judy and her dog {run on the beach every morning}.

To determine the subject of a sentence, first isolate the verb and then make a question by placing "who?" or "what?" before it -- the answer is the subject.

     The audience littered the theater floor with torn wrappings and spilled popcorn.

The verb in the above sentence is "littered." Who or what littered? The audience did. "The audience" is the subject of the sentence. The predicate (which always includes the verb) goes on to relate something about the subject: what about the audience? It "littered the theater floor with torn wrappings and spilled popcorn."
Think you've got it? Great! Click here for an extra credit quiz on subject and verb agreement.


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