Predicate (grammar)

sentence constituent

The predicate in traditional grammar is the second part of a clause or sentence, the first being the subject.[1] A predicate completes an idea about the subject, such as what it does or what it is like.[2][3]

She dances. - verb-only predicate
Ben reads the book. - verb + direct object predicate
Ben's mother, Felicity, gave me a present. - verb + indirect object + direct object predicate
She listened to the radio. - verb + prepositional object predicate
They elected him president. - verb + object + predicative noun predicate
She met him in the park. - verb + object + adjunct predicate
She is in the park. - verb + predicative prepositional phrase predicate

The predicate provides information about the subject.

Predicate tree 1

The subject NP is shown in green, and the predicate VP in blue.

There is a quite different theory of sentence structure, called dependency structure grammar. This puts the finite verb (= conjugated verb) as the root of all sentence structure. It rejects the binary NP-VP division.

References change

  1. A good introduction is: Crystal, David 1995. The Cambridge encyclopedia of the English language. Cambridge University Press, p220. ISBN 0-521-40179-8
  2. Allerton D. 1979. Essentials of grammatical theory. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  3. Huddleston, R. 1988. English grammar: an outline. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.