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Fancy Learning a Bit about Grammar? – Parts of Speech: The Subject

You’ll need to know about this (technical/grammatical) topic if you’re studying exam English. The only other reason to read about the subject would be if you’d like to understand why English behaves in the way that it behaves.

Let’s start with the basics: One of the main parts in the sentence is the subject.

The Subject

Every English sentence should have at least one subject. Without a subject the sentence is incomplete.

The subject is the person or thing that does something in the sentence.

You can find the subject if you ask: “Who/what is doing this or that?”


I’ll give you an example:

In this sentence: The dog catches a ball.

You can ask: Who catches a ball?

The answer is: the dog. So “the dog” is the subject of this sentence.


Another example:

The paper is on the chair.

You can ask: What is on the chair?

The answer is: the paper. So “the paper” is the subject.


And another example:
The gym instructor is pretty.

You can ask: Who is pretty?

The answer is: the gym instructor. So “the gym instructor” is the subject.


Last example:

Mohamed and Shirley bought a bigger house so that her father could live with them.

You can ask: Who bought a bigger house so that…?

The answer is: Mohamed and Shirley. So “Mohamed and Shirley” is the subject.


Very last example:
“Help!” cried the swimmer.

You can ask: Who cried “Help!”?

The answer is: the swimmer. So “the swimmer” is the subject.


Exercise 1


Your task is to decide whether the following phrases are sentences or not. Remember: Sentences must have a subject.

You can do this exercise online here.


1 Are you ready?

Sentence: yes/no.


2 Rode a horse yesterday.

Sentence: yes/no.


3 The management read the report.

Sentence: yes/no.


4 Served on the table.

Sentence: yes/no.


5 To read more information should click.

Sentence: yes/no.


6 If you don’t understand, ask again.

Sentence: yes/no.


7 Seldom had so much fun.

Sentence: yes/no.

dog catching ball

Exercise 2

Find the subject in these sentences. Try this (Expert! Difficult!) exercise online here and check your answers.


1 I don’t believe a word he says.

Subject: _____________________


2 My three brothers and their wives live in the Big Apple.

Subject: _____________________


3 What you just told me will remain a secret between us.

Subject: _____________________


4 Here is the report you asked for!

Subject: _____________________


5 Would you like another sandwich?

Subject: _____________________


6 That joke about the brunette and the blonde was sexist.

Subject: _____________________


7 Have you heard from Brenda lately?

Subject: _____________________


8 Long names are something I find hard to memorize.

Subject: _____________________


If you liked these quizzes and would like to do more, there is an option to order more exercises here.

2 thoughts on “Fancy Learning a Bit about Grammar? – Parts of Speech: The Subject

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