Learning Subject and Predicate Sentence Structure

Basic Sentence Structure


Subject: ESL, English/Language Arts

Grade Level: Beginner-Advanced Beginner (ESL), Grade 3-4

Time Allotment: 45minutes-1 hour

Student understands basic English sentence structure.
Student understands what a “subject” is.
Student understands what a “predicate is.
Student can identify the “subject” and “predicate” of a sentence.
Student can compose a complete sentence in English.
Student can manipulate a sentence using the principles taught.

Teaches the purpose of a “subject” and “predicate” in a sentence. Teaches the basics of subject/predicate sentence structure. Provides application of the acquired techniques.


Learning Activities:

Presentation of Material: Use of handout to explain and practice the concept.
The teacher will explain the concepts detailed on the handout. During each structure the teacher should elicit further examples from students, as well as give practice to students with extra example sentences.

The teacher should be sure that the students understand all terminology and the parts of speech. A brief review of nouns, pronouns, and verbs is encouraged.

The practice section of the handout should be done either individually or as a class after the lesson has been taught to further ensure the student’s understanding of the lesson.

Reinforcement homework can be assigned.

Reading Connection and Application: Recognizing sentence structures in basic reading.
The teacher can provide passages from simple and appropriate leveled reading material. The students will read through each passage and identify the subjects and predicates of each sentence.

The teacher can also require students to identify different parts of speech as a reinforcement/review activity.

Alternative Presentation:
The teacher can write a passage on the board or present one using the overhead projector and conduct the activity as a class.


Basic Sentence Structure

The 3 formulas of basic sentence structure:

Every sentence has a subject and predicate.
A sentence without a subject or predicate is a fragment sentence. (An incomplete sentence.)

Subject: Pronouns or nouns are the subjects of sentences when paired with an action verb.
Predicate: A verb expressing the subject’s action or state of being.
“Jane washed her car.”
Jane is the subject
Washed is the predicate because it expresses action
Jane did the washing of her car, Jane did the action. Thus, Jane is the subject.

This also works with stative, non-action, verbs.

Jane is honest. In this sentence there is no action. Stative verbs show a state of being.
Jane is the subject
Is is the predicate because “is” expresses a state of being
Jane is the one who is “being,” so Jane is the subject.

The final subject-predicate situation is called the imperative.
The imperative expresses the subject without actually stating the subject.
This is used mainly in speech as often we omit pronouns when we speak.
“Take out the garbage” “to take” is the verb
Take is the predicate
You is the subject Who is doing the action? “You” would be doing the action and
is thus the subject of the sentence.


Underline the subject and circle the predicate.

1.The dog jumped the fence.
2.Kasey eats pumpkin pie.
3.Lori hates hot days.
4.The day ended slowly.
5.Don’t talk in class, please.

Write three simple sentences. Underline the subject and circle the predicate in each sentence.




Follow each of the following directions for the sentences you’ve written.

1.Change the predicate in the first sentence.

2.Change the pronoun in the third sentence.

3.Change the noun in the second sentence.

4.Change the subject and the predicate in the third sentence.

5.Change the verb in the first sentence.

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