As you’ve learned, every sentence has a subject and a predicate. The subject does the action – to find the subject, first find the verb (the action), then ask who or what is doing the action. The predicate includes the verb and the rest of the sentence.

Some sentences, as described previously, start with the subject. Example: The soccer spectators showed their support for the players. The verb is “showed”. Who or what showed? “The soccer spectators” – this is the subject. The predicate is “showed their support for the players”.

However sentences do not always follow this neat pattern of subject + predicate.

Example 1: Blow your vuvuzela to show your support. This imperative sentence (an instruction) starts with the verb “blow” and the subject is implied: [You] blow your vuvuzela to show your support. So here, “you” is the subject, and “blow your vuvuzela to show your support” is the predicate.

Example 2: There are two injured players on the field. The verb is “are” (which is a form of the verb “to be”. Who or what are? – “two injured players” – this is the subject. “There are … on the field” is the predicate.

Example 3: Would you like to go to the match tonight? The verb is the auxiliary, “would” and “like”. Who or what would like? – “you” – this is the subject. “Would…like to go to the match tonight?” is the predicate.

Example 4: In spite of the bad weather, the team played an excellent game. The verb is “played”. Who or what played? – “the team” – this is the subject. “In spite of the bad weather…played an excellent game” is the predicate.

Example 5: After the game, the brothers and their friends decided to go home. Who or what decided? – “the brothers and their friends” – this is the subject. The predicate is “After the game…decided to go home”.

So remember – to unlock the subject and predicate, you need to find the main finite verb and then ask, who or what did this verb.