We explain what the subject of a sentence is, its nucleus, modifiers and what types exist. Also, sentences with subject and predicate.

The main verb of the sentence is conjugated according to the subject.

What is the subject?

From a point of view syntactic, all prayer properly said it is divided into a subject and a predicate. While the predicate is the action expressed in the verb, the subject is the person or object that carries out the action or of which we are talking.

In other words, the subject is one of the syntactic parts that make up a sentence and in accordance with which the verb of the predicate is conjugated. It is usually the first term of the sentence, but that is not its place exclusively.

Although most sentences in Spanish have a clear and recognizable subject, there are many in which this is not the case, such as the tacit subject sentences (implicit, that is, not present but deductible from the context), or the sentences impersonal (devoid of a logical subject).

To check which is the subject, the method Traditional is to observe the main verb of the sentence, since it is conjugated in agreement (person and number). Thus, for example, in the sentence “Juana eats vegetables”, the verb is in the third person singular (“eats” and they do not “eat” even though there are several vegetables), to agree with the subject, “Juana”.

Subject types

The subject can be classified in different ways, according to different criteria. The main of them are:

  • Express subject and tacit subject. The first distinction we must make to classify subjects has to do with their explicit appearance in the sentence. Thus, when the subject is stated as such within the syntactic chain, that is, when it is expressly said, we will speak of express subject. On the other hand, when the subject does not appear in the sentence, but it is understood what it is, that is, it is omitted or implicit, we will speak of a tacit subject or desinencial subject. For example: "Me I am 77 years old ”(explicit subject) and“ I am 77 years old ”(unspoken subject).
  • Agent subject and patient subject. Another way of classifying the subject has to do with its form of appearance within the sentence, with respect to the detailed action by the verb. Thus, when the subject is the person who actively executes the action of the verb, we will have active actions and a agent subject. On the other hand, when the subject is the person who suffers the action of the verb, that is, who is subjected to the action instead of executing it, we will have a passive sentence and therefore a patient subject. For example: "My mom stroked the cat "(agent subject) and"The cat it was caressed by my mother ”(patient subject). Bear in mind that when converting a sentence from active to passive, the subject and the direct object change their respective roles.
  • Simple subject and compound subject. Another way of classifying the subject attends to its morphological composition, that is, to the amount of terms it involves. Thus, we can have a simple subject when it consists of a single referent, and a compound subject when it alludes instead to several referents, therefore having two or more nuclei. For example: "Peter robbed the bank ”(simple subject) and“Peter Y Mario robbed the bank ”(composite subject).

Core of the subject

The sentence subject is generally composed of a noun phrase, from which we can distinguish two types of elements: the nucleus of the subject and its modifiers or adjuncts.

The nucleus is generally a noun or a pronoun, or some other substantiated term, on which the major semantic load of the phrase falls and therefore functions as the axis of the subject.

Thus, in the sentence "The monkeys eat peanuts", the subject ("The monkeys") will have as nucleus the noun monkeys. While in "They two are also my companions", the subject ("They two") has as its nucleus the personal pronoun They.

Subject modifiers

Direct and indirect modifiers affect the kernel.

Apart from the nucleus, in the subject the modifiers of the subject come to life, that is, those sentence terms that accompany and modify the meaning of the subject, either directly or indirectly. Thus, we have:

  • Direct modifiers. It is about those words that go along with the nucleus of the subject and affect it directly, such as articles and the adjectives. The former define the noun grammatically, that is, they indicate its number and grammatical gender, while the latter add a complete meaning to the noun. For example, in the sentence “Some sad tigers they eat wheat ”the core of the subject (tigers) is accompanied by two direct modifiers: the article “Unos” (indeterminate, masculine, plural) and the adjective “sad” (that is, not happy).
  • Indirect modifiers. However, the nucleus of the subject can be accompanied by modifiers that do not act directly on it, but do so through the bridge of a preposition and that constitute, in themselves, nominal or prepositional phrases. In this case, the complete phrase works as an adjective would, but due to its syntactic distance we will have it for a indirect modifier. For example: in the sentence “My cousin's dog bit me ”, the core of the subject (dog) is accompanied by a direct modifier (The) and an indirect one: “from my cousin”, which consists of a prepositional phrase (from+adjective+ noun), but which in this case is not autonomous, but rather its purpose is to modify the core of the subject, indicating that it is not just any dog, but rather the dog "of my cousin".

Sentences with subject and predicate

Sentences endowed with discernible subject and predicate are known as two-member (that is, two-member) sentences. These include those that have a tacit subject or an elided predicate, because in both cases the absent content can be inferred from the context. Some examples of double-member sentences are:

  • My father cleans the yard with the rake.

Subject: My father
Subject core: parent
Subject modifier: My (direct)
Predicate: clean the yard with the rake
Core predicate: clean

  • Many great artists went unnoticed.

Subject: Many great artists
Core of the subject: artists
Subject modifiers: Many (direct), large (direct)
Predicate: they went unnoticed
Core predicate: passed

  • A Persian cat paces the dining room.

Subject: A Persian cat
Subject core: cat
Subject modifiers: A (direct), Persian (direct)
Predicate: strolls through the dining room
Core of the predicate: stroll (stroll)

  • I have a stomach ache.

Subject: I (tacit)
Predicate: I have a stomach ache
Core of the predicate: I have

  • My cousin's wife passed away last night.

Subject: My cousin's wife
Subject core: female
Subject modifiers: La (direct), de mi cousin (indirect)
Predicate: passed away last night
Core of the predicate: passed away

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