Review: The Subject

Try to determine the simple subject (disregarding any modifiers) in the following sentences, then check your answer to see if it was correct.

Question 1

His terror of spiders kept him out of the dark basement.

Answer

"Terror" is the simple subject because it answers the question "what?" before the verb "kept." "Of spiders" and "his" are simply modifying the simple subject "terror."

Question 2

There will be three concerts in the arts centre tonight.

Answer

"Concerts" is the simple subject because it answers the question "what?" before the verb "will be." Remember that "there" is merely signalling that the true subject will follow.

Question 3

Would you willingly exchange half your intelligence for one million dollars?

Answer

"You" is the simple subject because it answers the question "who?" before the verb "would exchange."

Question 4

Despite the storm's destructiveness, the ship, with its crew of amateurs, might have survived in more experienced hands.

Answer

"Ship" is the simple subject because it answers the question "what?" before the verb "might have survived." "With its crew of amateurs" is modifying the simple subject "ship."

Question 5

After the movie, Emma and her brother bought a birthday present for their mother.

Answer

"Emma, brother" is the simple subject because it answers the question "who?" before the verb "bought." This sentence has a compound subject.

Written by Frances Peck