Complete subject masterclass

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Complete subject
Complete subject

This post helps you understand what a complete subject is, and how it is formed.

What is a complete subject in English?

A complete subject in English is a combination of a simple subject and the word or words that modify it. It is a group of words that tells us who performs the action in the sentence or who/what the sentence is about.

Complete subject explanation
Complete subject explanation

Examples:

1 The meeting has been canceled.

Simple subject = meeting
Modifier = the
Complete subject = the meeting

2. Your performance was really amazing.

Simple subject = performance
Modifier = your
Complete subject = your performance

3. The man living in this apartment is a famous singer.

Simple subject = man
Modifiers = the, living in this apartment
Complete subject = the man living in this apartment

4. Some people never give up.

Simple subject = people
Modifiers = some
Complete subject = some people

5. Some beautiful Chinese girls came to meet us.

Simple subject = girls
Modifiers = some, beautiful, Chinese
Complete subject = some beautiful Chinese girls

6. The man in the blue coat teaches History here.

Simple subject = man
Modifiers = the, in the blue coat
Complete subject = the man in the blue coat

How to form a complete subject in English?

A complete subject is formed using a simple subject and pre and post-modifiers. Here are the ways to form a complete subject:

  1. Pre-modifier/s + simple subject
  2. Simple subject + post-modifier/s
  3. Pre-modifier/s + simple subject + post-modifier/s

Pre-modifier + simple subject

A pre-modifier is a word or words that come before a simple subject (noun) and modify it. It includes the following:

  1. Determiners
  2. Adjectives

Determiners include the followings:

  • Articles (a, an, the)
  • Possessive adjective (my, your, his, her…)
  • Demonstrative adjective (this, that, these, those)
  • Distributive adjective (each, either, neither…)
  • Quantifiers (some, many, a few, much…)
  • Numbers (first, second, one, two…)

Examples:

  • A man died here last night.

Simple subject = man
Pre-modifier = a (article)
Complete subject = a man

  • The movie was amazing.

Simple subject = movie
Pre-modifier = the (article)
Complete subject = the movie

  • Your house is beautiful.

Simple subject = house
Pre-modifier = your (possessive adjective)
Complete subject = your house

  • Some students just left the class.

Simple subject = students
Pre-modifier = some (quantifier)
Complete subject = some students

  • That man dances amazingly well.

Simple subject = man
Pre-modifier = that (demonstrative adjective)
Complete subject = that man

  • Neither girl deserves to be in the team.

Simple subject = girl
Pre-modifier = neither (distributive adjective)
Complete subject = neither girl

  • Every deserving student will get a chance to win the scholarship.

Simple subject = student
Pre-modifiers = every (distributive adjective), deserving (present participle adjective)
Complete subject = every deserving student

Simple subject + post-modifier/s

A post-modifier is a word or a group of words (phrase or clause) that comes after a noun or pronoun and modifies it. It includes the followings:

  1. Prepositional phrase
  2. Infinitive phrase
  3. Present participle phrase
  4. Past participle phrase
  5. Adjective clause

Using a noun and a post-modifier is another way to form a complex subject.

Examples:

  • People in my village support each other.

Simple subject = people
Post-modifier = in my village (prepositional phrase)
Complete subject = people in my village

  • Betrayal of any sort is not expected from you.

Simple subject = betrayal
Post-modifier = of any sort (prepositional phrase)
Complete subject = betrayal of any sort

NOTE: a noun phrase using a noun and a postmodifier is less common. Generally, we use a premodifier before the noun when it has a postmodifier after it. That’s the third way of forming a complete subject (noun phrase).

NOTE: a noun phrase using a noun and a postmodifier is less common. Generally, we use a premodifier before the noun when it has a postmodifier after it. That’s the third way of forming a complete subject (noun phrase).

Premodifier + Simple subject + post-modifier/s

This is another way to form a complete subject. Here, the head noun is surrounded by a premodifier and a postmodifier.

Examples:

  • The man in the blue jacket is a dancer.

Simple subject = man
Pre-modifier = the (definite article)
Post-modifier = in the blue jacket (prepositional phrase)
Complete subject = the man in the blue jacket

  • Some students living in this building are giving online classes.

Simple subject = students
Pre-modifier = some (quantifier)
Post-modifier = living in this building (present participle phrase)
Complete subject = some students living in this building

  • The right man to call right now is Jon, the sales guy.

Simple subject = man
Pre-modifiers = The (definite article), right (adjective)
Post-modifier = to call right now (infinitive phrase)
Complete subject = some students living in this building

  • The car stolen from this slot yesterday belonged to a very rich man.

Simple subject = car
Pre-modifiers = The (definite article)
Post-modifier = stolen from this slot yesterday (past participle phrase)
Complete subject = the car stolen from this slot yesterday

  • A man who runs daily has less chances to have diseases than a man who does not.

Simple subject = man
Pre-modifiers = a (indefinite article)
Post-modifier = who runs daily (adjective clause)
Complete subject = a man who runs daily

More examples of complete subjects:

  • Some people never learn from their mistakes.
  • One of your friends called me last night.
  • Some of these flats are in very bad condition.
  • Either man is good man for this job.
  • This batch of mine has a lot of great minds.
  • Many people from this area have multiple houses.
  • People who never give up never lose the game.
  • The guy standing next to your car has been chasing me for some days.

POINTS TO NOTE:

1. A complete subject, generally, is a noun phrase formed using a regular noun.

2. It can’t be a word. It has to be more than a word: a noun and its modifier.

3. There are three ways to form a complete subject in English:

  • Premodifier + noun
  • Noun + postmodifier
  • Premodifier + noun + postmodifier

I am sure you have, now, mastered everything about complete subjects. Share the piece with others to help them master it either.

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