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How to Identify the Subject of a Sentence

Learn how to identify the subject of a sentence from Gotham Writers' Workshop instructor Stephanie Paterik in this Howcast grammar video.


Stephanie: All sentences have two things in common. One is that they all have at least one subject, and least one verb. So today, I'm going to talk to you about how to find the subject for your sentence. Let's start with the shortest sentence in the Bible for an example. Jesus wept. So if we want to find the subject, which is either a noun or a pronoun, um, I suggest first finding the verb, they tend to be easier to locate.

Uh, the verb is the action of the sentence. So here, our action, is wept. Now, once we found the action we need to find our actor. Well, Jesus is the one who was weeping, so he's the actor, or the subject. Now, I'll give you another example. That's a simple sentence. It can be a little harder to find the subject, when you get into more complex sentences. So, here's an example. The crowd cheered for Lady Gaga.

Well, let's start by finding our verb. The action here is the word, cheered. So, who is our actor, or the subject? Well, it's the crowd that's cheering. So, the crowd cheered for Lady Gaga, the crowd is our subject. It's important to note, that although Lady Gaga might be the most interesting part of the sentence, she's not the subject, because she's not the one performing the action. So, I hope this helps you understand how to identify the subject of your sentence.

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