Grammatical Functions: Predicates

Predicates of Sentences

This short article in the Grammatical Functions series introduces the predicate. Subsequent articles in this series will discuss different kinds of predicates in detail.

What is a predicate?

Perhaps the best definition of a predicate is that a predicate is everything in a sentence that is not the subject. A predicate can also be defined as the part of a sentence which says something about the sentence’s subject.
A defining characteristic of predicates is that all predicates must contain a verb phrase. Some predicates consist of nothing but a single verb, such as in the phrase:

“She spoke.”

Predicates can also be quite lengthy:

“She spoke for half an hour about the book she had spent most of the previous day reading.”)

An essential element of any predicate is the predicator. The predicator of a sentence is the verb around which the predicate revolves. Spoke is the predicator of both the above examples.

Jake Magnum, author of the Magnum Proofreading Blog, is dedicated to helping writers perfect their work. In addition to giving free advice on his blog, Jake helps writers by offering very affordable proofreading services at

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