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Writing and Recognizing Sentences with Compound Predicates and Subjects

written by: Elizabeth Engel • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 2/8/2012

Writing sentences with compound subjects and predicates is easier than you may think. Although they are similar, there is a simple way to differentiate between the two. We'll begin by looking at definitions of the two, and then some examples to make it clearer.

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    We will now go over the basics of how to write sentences with compound subjects and predicates. By understanding the definitions, you will develop a better understanding of the rules of the English language by becoming familiar with various sentence structures, and this will help you improve your grammar so that you will be ready for the GRE exam.

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    Learning Sentences 

    It's firstly important to understand the difference between a compound subject, and a compound predicate.

    The definition of a compound subject is:

    • A compound subject has multiple nouns or pronouns, and it is usually a part of a word or a conjunction. An example of a compound subject is “her shoes and feet were covered in mud". You will notice that by combining the subject here (shoes and feet), it improves the sentence by making it simple.

    The definition of a compound predicate is:

    • A compound predicate is quite similar, and is defined as a predicate with more than one verb, that is joined by a word or conjunction. An example of a compound predicate is “Jen jumped on her motorcycle and rode around the block".

    Next we'll take a look at a few examples.

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    Identifying Compound Subjects and Predicates in a Sentence

    An easy way to recognize a compound subject in a sentence is to look for more than one subject. For example, in this sentence:

    Lindsay and Britney went shopping.

    Both Lindsay and Britney are the compound subjects because there is more than one subject as opposed to the sentence “Lindsay went shopping" which only involves one subject (Lindsay).

    A compound predicate can be identified when the subject does two things. There are usually two identifying verbs which will also be found in a compound predicate. An example is in the sentence:

    I ate a pie and drank a milkshake.

    In this sentence “I" is the subject, and “ate" and “drank" are the two identifying verbs which make this sentence a compound predicate.

    Things become a bit more complex when we are introduced to a sentence that has both a compound subject and a compound predicate:

    Elizabeth and Victoria caught a fish and then cooked it.

    In this sentence "Elizabeth and Victoria" are the compound subjects, while the compound predicate is "caught" and "cooked". This is an example of a sentence that has both compound subjects and compound predicates.

    You may notice that although some sentences which feature compound sentences and compound predicates may look slightly different with a varied word order, many of these sentences follow the same structure.

    Compound sentences, are just one of four sentence types in the English language; it may help your understanding of compound subjects and predicates further if you review the other types of sentences, so you can see the differences more clearly.

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    We have gone over several ways of writing sentences with compound subjects and predicates. If you are interested in improving your English grammar skills, it is important for you to be able to identify these different sentence types. You may also wish to visit some useful online English language sites - while many of these are for students of English as a second language, many are useful for examples and tests on grammar, for those who wish to improve grammar in their first language.


  • Photo: WikiMedia Commons/Baker131313
  • Subjects and Predicates: