Complete Subject: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:02 Definition of a…
  • 0:33 Components of a…
  • 1:50 Practicing Complete Subjects
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Debbie Notari
In this lesson, we will look at the complete subject of a sentence. The complete subject is more than just one word; it also includes all of the words that modify the subject.

Definition of a Complete Subject

A complete subject is more than just one noun. It contains the simple subject - the noun that the whole sentence is about - but it also includes all of the words that modify that noun. Most often, the complete subject is the entire first part of a sentence. By way of review, remember that a noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. The subject of a sentence is the main focus of the sentence. It is the person, place, thing, or idea that the whole sentence revolves around.

The Components of a Complete Subject

Every sentence has two basic parts: the complete subject and the predicate. The complete subject contains the main noun in the sentence; the predicate contains the verb, or action, in the sentence. You know that the complete subject has stopped and the predicate has begun when you reach the verb in the sentence. Complete subjects not only contain the main noun of the sentence, but also all of the words that describe or modify the noun. For instance, let's take a look at the following sentence:

'The talented, feminine ballerinas gracefully leaped across the stage.'

In this sentence, there are four words that make up the complete subject: 'The talented, feminine ballerinas'. The word 'ballerinas' is the simple subject, but the other three words modify, or describe, the ballerinas. The word 'the' is an article - one of three: a, an, and the. It is very specific. We are talking about the ballerinas on this stage at this moment, not just any old group of ballerinas. 'The' modifies the word 'ballerinas'. The adjectives 'talented' and 'feminine' modify 'ballerinas' as well, giving us a description of the ballerinas. Again, the entire phrase 'The talented, feminine ballerinas' makes up the complete subject of the sentence.

Practicing Complete Subjects

Now, we will look at three sentences. Take a moment to find the complete subjects in each of these sentences:

1. 'Three college students worked hard to start their own business.'

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