What is a predicate? How does it work?

The predicate is what provides information about the subject.

It answers various questions: What does the subject do? (Verbal Action):

This refers to the action that the subject performs in a sentence.

It is the central element of a predicate and often contains a verb.


What is done to the subject? (Passive Voice):

In some cases, the subject may not perform the action but instead receives the action.

This is known as the passive voice.


What is it like? (Adjectival Predicate):

Sometimes, the predicate can describe the subject by using adjectives.

This gives more information about the subject’s characteristics or attributes.


What is it? (Nominative Predicate):

In sentences where the subject is being equated to something else, the predicate provides this information.

This is common in sentences using forms of to be, like is, was, are, etc.


Types of Predicates:


 Simple Predicate:

This is the main verb or verb phrase that conveys the action or state of the subject.

It consists of a single verb or a group of verbs acting together as the main verb.

A simple predicate is indeed expressed by a verb in a finite form in any tense, voice, or mood.


Here are some examples of simple predicates:


She sings beautifully.

sings (finite form of the verb sing)


They have completed the project.

have completed (finite form of the verb phrase have completed)


He will study for the exam.

will study (finite form of the verb phrase will study)


The book was read by many people.

was read (finite form of the passive voice verb phrase was read)


She wishes she could fly.

wishes (finite form of the verb wish)






 Compound Predicate:

A compound predicate contains two or more verbs or verb phrases that share the same subject.

Each verb or verb phrase in the compound predicate adds information about the subject.



Compound Predicate Types:

Nominative Predicate:

A compound nominative predicate uses a linking verb like to be in finite form in combination with a nominative part that can be expressed by a noun, pronoun, noun or pronoun with a preposition, adjective, participle, infinitive, or gerund.


Here are examples using these verbs:

Noun or Pronoun:


She is a doctor.

The winner is John.

The book is yours.

It is she.



Noun or Pronoun with Preposition:


The room is in mess.

The new manager is in charge of the team.

She was in despair.

He is against it.



Adjective or Participle:


Her dream is unreachable.

The movie is fascinating.

The cup is broken.





His goal is to win the race.

The plan is to build a new house.

Their ambition is to travel the world.





Her hobby is swimming.

The best part of the day is hiking in the mountains.

His passion is cooking.



These examples demonstrate how the nominal part of the predicate can take different forms but always serves to identify, rename, or describe the subject of the sentence.


Additionally, other verbs like  appear, become, grow, get, turn, seem, and look can also be used to create compound nominative predicates.


The room appears brighter than before.

He became a doctor.

It grew warmer.

It is getting old.

She turned pale.

They seemed tired.

He looks ill.






 Verbal Predicate:

This type of compound predicate contains one or more verbs that describe an action or state of the subject.

It can provide more information about what the subject is doing.

A compound verbal predicate combines a finite verb (a verb in its standard, conjugated form) with an infinitive or a gerund.

The main meaning or action of the predicate is typically expressed by the infinitive or gerund, and the finite verb complements or supports this action.


Here are some examples of compound verbal predicates:

Combination of modal

verb with infinitive:


A compound verbal predicate can indeed be expressed using a combination of a modal verb and an infinitive.

Modal verbs are auxiliary verbs that express necessity, possibility, ability, permission, or other similar concepts.

When combined with an infinitive verb, they create a compound verbal predicate.


Here are some examples: can + infinitive:

She can swim.

They can speak Spanish.




could + infinitive:

He could play the piano when he was five.

We could go to the movies tonight.




will + infinitive:

She will finish the project by tomorrow.

I will call you later.




would + infinitive:

He would like to visit Japan.

We would appreciate your assistance.




shall + infinitive:

We shall meet again.

Shall I help you with that?




should + infinitive:

You should exercise regularly.

We should discuss this matter.





may + infinitive:

She may come to the event.

May I use your computer?




might + infinitive:

He might be late.

They might choose a different option.






Combination of Infinitive or Gerund

with certain Verbs:

When combining infinitives or gerunds with certain verbs that don’t carry a full meaning on their own, they often serve to complement the main verb and create a compound verbal predicate.


Here are examples with various verbs: to begin + infinitive:

She began to study French.

We began to plan our vacation.



to continue + gerund:

He continued working on the project.

The team continued improving their performance.



to finish + gerund:

They finished cleaning the house.

He finished reading the book.



to like + infinitive:

I like to go for long walks.

She likes to eat sushi.



to want + infinitive:

They want to visit the museum.

She wants to learn how to play the guitar.



to intend + infinitive:

We intend to start a new project.

He intends to pursue a career in medicine.



to avoid + gerund:

She avoids eating fast food.

They avoid discussing politics at family gatherings.



to hope + infinitive:

I hope to see you soon.

She hopes to get a promotion.



to promise + infinitive:

He promised to help with the move.

She promised to attend the event.



to try + gerund:

They try improving their skills regularly.

I try not missing my morning routine.



to decide + infinitive:

We decided to take a short break.

He decided to change his career path.



Adjective with linking verb

and infinitive or gerund


When combining an adjective with a linking word and an infinitive or gerund, it can create a compound verbal predicate.

Here are examples with both:


Adjective + linking word + infinitive:

She was happy to meet you.

The news is exciting to hear.




Adjective + linking word + gerund:

The book is worth reading.

The exhibit is worth visiting.




Adjective + linking word + either infinitive or gerund:

The concert was too loud to enjoy (infinitive).

The solution was too complex to understand quickly (infinitive).

The weather was perfect for hiking (gerund).

The topic was interesting for discussing (gerund).










What is a predicate? Predicate Types

Subject Pronoun/ “One” and “They” as subject meaning

Cleft sentence ( It was yesterday that…)

“It” as a Formal Subject

Subject of a Sentence. Types for definition

What is Syntax? Syntax in English