A simple subject masterclass in English

Do you know what a simple subject is? Well, one must if one doesn’t. This lesson helps you understand everything about a simple subject in English. There is a video on simple subjects at the end that you can scroll down to if you are a video person.

What is a simple sentence?

A simple subject is a one-word subject. It does not include any modifiers.

Simple subject explanation
Simple subject explanation


1. Jon love going out with his friends.

2. Money can get you a lot of things.

3. India has always been a country of seekers.

4. My mother does too much for me. (the complete subject is ‘my mother’)

5. Singing is her passion.

More complex examples of a simple subject

  • The reason why she has come here to this filthy place is that she is looking for some workers to hire.
  • One of my friends living in Canada is coming to see me soon.
  • The best way to know what Rahul does and how he does it is to befriend his brother.
  • The center of the table you bought last night got burnt accidentally.
  • Your manager’s car collection is amazing.

A simple subject can have a modifier before it or after it, or both.

A simple subject does not always stand alone. It can have a modifier before or after it, or it can have modifiers both before and after it. If you leave the pre and post-modifiers, the left is a simple subject. The modifiers can’t be a part of a simple sentence. Including them will give you a complete subject.


  • The driver was late today.

Simple subject = driver
Modifier (pre) = the
Complete subject = the driver

  • A small boy asked me to get him a ball.

Simple subject = boy
Modifier (pre) = a, small
Complete subject = a small boy

  • Some people make excuses for everything.

Simple subject = people
Modifier (pre) = some
Complete subject = some people

  • The girl looking at us is the daughter of my family doctor.

Simple subject = girl
Modifier (pre) = the
Modifier (post) = looking at us (present participle phrase)
Complete subject = the girl looking at us

  • Any man with the right attitude can do anything.

Simple subject = man
Modifier (pre) = any
Modifier (post) = with a right attitude
Complete subject = any man with a right attitude

NOTE: a complete subject is a combination of a simple subject and the word/words that modify it.

What can be a simple subject?

The following things can be a simple subject:

  1. Noun (regular nouns)
  2. Pronoun
  3. Gerund
  4. Infinitive


  • Pollution needs to be worked on consciously.
  • Paris is one of the cities I love going back to.
  • Usain Bolt is the fastest-running man alive.
  • Success is just an idea.
  • His way of speaking is amazing.
  • The black bag has been stolen lately.

Related lessons:


  • Some of your paintings are extraordinary.
  • Everyone in my family is a huge fan of sweets.
  • You are what you think you are.
  • Those cars are beautiful.


  • Running can help you in losing weight.
  • Smoking can kill you.
  • Teaching is my passion.
  • His coaching changed the way we play on the field.

Related lessons:


  • To run away is not an option now.
  • To live happily is all I want.
  • To care is to love.
  • To go there alone can be dangerous.

Simple subject vs Complete subject

A simple subject is a one-word subject without any modifiers, and a complete subject is a simple subject plus the words that modify it.

Basis of differenceSimple subjectComplete subject
DefinitionIt is a one-word subject. It’s a name without any modifiers.It is a combination of a simple subject and the word or words that modify it.
ConstructionIt is just a name. It can be any noun or noun equivalent.It is a noun phrase: a combination of a noun and its modifiers.
LengthIt is just a word.It is a phrase.
ModifiersIt does not include any modifiers.It has modifiers.
Examples1. Roy is getting married this week.
2. My school is huge.
3. People don’t talk to me like that.
4. Corruption is still the biggest problem here.
1. The problem is still you.
2. My school is huge.
3. The goal of this company is to provide education to the poor.
4. The man who tried contacting you is a fraud.
Simple subject vs Complete subject

If a sentence has multiple clauses in it, all the clauses will have their own simple sentence.

Leaving a simple sentence, all the other types of sentences have at least two clauses in them. It is important to note that every clause has a subject and its predicate. So, when you are asked to identify the subject of such sentences (ones that have multiple clauses in them), don’t just look for the subject of the first clause. First, identify all the clauses that are present in the sentence, and then identify their subjects. All of them have their own simple subjects.

Let’s study some examples to understand this better.

  • Sammy is my boss, and he does not like to wait for people.

This is an example of a compound sentence. It has two independent clauses in it. Both clauses have their own simple subjects (colored red) and are joined with the coordinating conjunction ‘and’.

  • You don’t have to work here if we are not paying you well.

This is a complex sentence and has two clauses in it: dependent and independent. The subject of the independent clause (you don’t have to work here) and the dependent clause (if we don’t treat you well) are colored red.

  • If you are not happy with what you are getting in your company, I will offer you a job that will give you better exposure and payout.

This is another example of a complex sentence. Here, we have three dependent clauses and one independent clause. Let’s identify them and find out their subjects.

Independent clause = I will offer you a job
Simple subject = I

Dependent clause 1 = If you are not happy with what you are getting
Simple subject = you

Notice that this dependent clause has another dependent clause in it, working as the object of the preposition ‘with’. Let’s write it separately.

Dependent clause 2 = what you are getting
Simple subject = you

Dependent clause 3 = that will give you better exposure and payout
Simple subject = that

Simple sentences that have two or more words

Simple sentences are usually one-word subjects. But they can have two or more words in them. This does not change the fact that they don’t have modifiers in them.

  • Sundar Pichai is the CEO of Google.

Here, Sundar Pichai is the simple subject of the sentence. It is a name of a person. Notice it’s just a name; it does not include any modifiers in it.

Subhash Chandra Bose fought for India’s freedom.

The simple subject has three words in it; none of them is a modifier. It is just a name of a person.

Now, we know everything about simple subjects. Feel free to share your question, doubt, or feedback in the comment section, and also, share the post with the people that need it.

For one-on-one classes, contact me at [email protected].


What is a simple subject?

A simple subject refers to a noun, pronoun, or any equivalent that does not have any modifiers in it. It is usually a one-word subject. Adding the modifiers of a simple subject to it makes it a complete subject.

How do you find the simple subject?

Understanding that a simple subject is either a noun, pronoun, or any noun equivalent (gerund/infinitive) helps us identify it. Also, one can identify the complete subject of a sentence and take out the modifiers from it to get to its simple subject.

Where is the simple subject in a question?

In a question, the subject comes after the auxiliary verb. It could be a simple subject, compound subject, or complete subject. 1. Are you happy? 2. When does Rohan come back from work? 3. Where will your friends meet you?

Can you have 2 simple subjects in a sentence?

Yes, a sentence can have two or more simple subjects in it. This is possible when there are multiple subjects sharing the same verb or there is more than one clause in it. 1) Jon and I live here. 2) I love my students, and they love me.

Now you know what a simple subject is. Feel free to share the post with others.

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Ashish found his first love—the English language—a few years back. Since then, he has been immersed in the language, breaking down the language and teaching it to passionate English learners. He has a flair for listening to the English language (podcasts, sitcoms, stories), observing the nuances, and making it easy for English learners. He is known for breaking down complex English topics and making them easy to be understood.

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