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Using Nouns as the Subject of a Sentence: Grammar Rules & Examples
English language has eight parts of speech −
Noun: Nouns are used to name places, animals, things and people.
Pronoun: Pronouns are used for the same purpose but in place of Nouns.
Adjective: Adjectives are used to give a description of the Nouns and Pronouns.
Preposition: Prepositions or ‘Pre-position’ indicates or is used to indicate its position prior to a Pronoun or a Noun to make meaning in a sentence possible.
Verb: Verbs are words that do something or act something,
Adverb: Adverbs are used to add to verbs and describe them.
Conjunction: Conjunctions are used to join or connect sentences and
Interjection: Interjections are standalone words which do not need any other parts of speech to complete them.
Among all these parts of speech, the one that is used maximum in all kinds of communication are Nouns followed by Verbs. Each sentence has three main parts - Subject, Verb and Object and in this tutorial, we will learn about Subject and Subject Nouns.
What are Subject Nouns?
Subjects in a sentence are the centre or the main focus of the sentence. These subjects are Nouns or Pronouns and the objects on which they perform this action is again a Noun or a Pronoun. This Noun which acts as the subject is called the Subject Noun.
For example, if I say ‘Rita loves dogs’, ‘Rita’ is the subject or the subject noun since Rita is a noun whose action is loving and ‘dogs’ is the object or the object noun of the sentence upon which Rita the subject noun performs actions. To find out the subject of a sentence, one must ask the question who or what.
For example, in the above example, when the question ‘Who loves dogs?’ is posited, the answer is Rita, which is the subject noun of the sentence.
Types of Subjects
Subjects of a sentence can be broadly classified into five types. They are −
Simple subjects as their name itself suggest are simple and direct. For example, Rita was walking. Here, Rita is a noun and this noun is singular.
Any subject which denotes one Noun or Pronoun i.e. a singular Noun or Pronoun, is a Simple Subject.
A few examples of the same are −
Geeta plays violin.
Sheena played football.
Godhdu’s favourite fish is Hilsa.
Gaby is watching a movie
‘Geeta’, ‘Sheena’, ‘Godhdu’ and ‘Gaby’ are all subject nouns.
Complete subjects are subjects which contain the simple subject as well as the words that modify it which include pronouns as well as adjectives.
A few examples of complete subjects are −
Her new phone is the size of her hand.
My new pet dances to Kishore Kumar’s music.
Her cute cat always meows at me.
His friend was invited to prom.
In the sentences above, the subjects are complete and contain ‘her’, ‘my’ and ‘his’ as pronouns, ‘new’ and ‘cute’ as adjectives and ‘phone’, ‘pet’, ‘cat’ and ‘friend’ as subject nouns.
Compound as a word, when taken singularly, means a combination of two or more things. A compound subject, therefore, is a combination of two or more Nouns or Pronouns.
Compound subjects are always plural since sentences with compound subjects have more than one subject.
Compound subjects need not always be two or more nouns only or two or more pronouns only, they can be a mixture of nouns and pronouns.
A few examples of Compound subjects in a sentence are −
Harry and Ron are trying to find Hermione.
Hermione and her parents are dancing.
Lakshmi and Lucas sang at the Yule Ball.
Herby and Gaby are mad at Susan.
In all the above examples, the subjects are either solely subject nouns as in the case of ‘Harry and Ron’, ‘Lakshmi and Lucas’ and ‘Herby and Gaby’ or a mixture of subject noun and pronoun as in the case of ‘Hermione and her parents’ where ‘Hermione’ is a subject noun but ‘her parents’ is a subject pronoun.
Definite subjects communicate a definite or a fixed subject like I or You and use The, This, That, My to indicate a particular Person or thing as the Subject.
Examples of Definite subjects in a sentence are −
The Taj Mahal was built for Mumtaz.
I will do this task.
You will not go out.
That shoe was in the shoe rack section of the shopping mall.
My phone has the best features.
This pen is very expensive.
All the above subjects ‘The Taj Mahal’, ‘I’, ‘You’, ‘That shoe’, ‘My Phone’ and ‘This pen’ specifically point at a particular thing or person as a subject. This is what makes it definite. Taj Mahal, shoe, phone and Pen also happen to be subject nouns.
Unlike definite subjects, indefinite subjects do not give a clear idea about who or what the subject is. Indefinite subjects are vague and not fixed. They use the articles a and an, words like Some, Many, any to introduce their subject which makes their identity very unclear.
A few examples to make it easier for you to understand are −
A girl came to my shop.
An apple lay at my feet.
Some people came over to my place.
Any card will be accepted for payment.
Many girls came to class.
The words ‘A girl’, ‘An apple’, ‘Some people’, ‘Any card’, ‘Many girls’ are all subject nouns but the question that remains for each of these subjects are, ‘Which girl/people/card?’ and ‘How many people/girls?’. The ambiguous nature of these subjects make it indefinite and hence, indefinite subjects.
Subjects are a vital part of any sentence and the five types of subjects contribute to making the English language richer. Simple and Complete subjects are singular with a maximum of 1 subject noun, Compound subjects are plural with zero to any number of subject nouns, Definite and indefinite subjects with one to any number of subject nouns respectively.
Q1. What is a subject noun?
Ans. Any sentence whose agent of action is a noun can be termed as a subject noun. For example, in the sentence ‘Rick is making music’, Rick is the agent of action since he is the noun and the one making music thereby making ‘Rick’ the subject noun.
Q2. What are the five types of Subjects?
Ans. The five types of subjects are Simple Subject, Complete subject, Compound subject, Definite subject and indefinite subject.
Q3. Why are subject nouns important?
Ans. Unlike a passage, a sentence does not have the scope for prior introduction of a noun. This is why, it is ideal to always begin the sentence with a noun to make the subject a fixed entity.
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