Compound Predicate: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Subjects and Predicates
  • 0:57 Compound Predicates
  • 3:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

Compound predicates help to make language more advanced. This lesson reviews not only the definition of compound predicates, but also how to identify them in sentences.

Subjects and Predicates

All sentences need to have two items in order to be complete: a subject and a predicate. A subject can be defined as the person or object in the sentence doing the action. A predicate is the verb (or action word) and the rest of the modifiers in the sentence. Remember, modifiers are any words that modify or describe another word in a sentence. Adjectives and adverbs are modifiers. In general, if a particular word or phrase isn't attached to the subject, it's part of the predicate.

Look at this sentence: 'Jimmy ran the whole mile in five minutes.' To find the subject, ask yourself what noun is doing the action. In this case, 'Jimmy' is the subject of the sentence. To find the predicate, start by finding the verb. The answer is 'ran' because the verb is the action of the sentence. Now, the whole predicate includes the verb and the rest of the modifiers, so in this sentence, 'ran the whole mile in five minutes' is the complete predicate.

Compound Predicates

A compound predicate has two actions for the same subject. In other words, the subject of the sentence is doing more than one action. The easiest way to identify a compound predicate is to look for a compound verb, which occurs when two or more verbs share the same subject. However, sometimes finding those verbs can be difficult.

The easiest way to do so is to look for two verbs connected with a conjunction, which is a connecting word. 'And, so, but, or' and 'nor' are all conjunctions. Let's look at an example: 'The kids climbed and played on the jungle gym.' First, what is the subject? 'Kids' is the noun doing the action. Next, what is the action? In this case, the subject is doing two actions, 'climbed and played.' Since this phrase consists of two verbs joined by the conjunction 'and,' this is a compound verb. Thus, the complete predicate is 'climbed and played on the jungle gym,' which is considered a compound predicate.

Sentences like that example are fairly easy to spot since the conjunction is clearly between two verbs. However, sometimes there are other words that separate the verbs. For instance, look at this sentence: 'The kids climbed on the monkey bars and played on the baseball diamond.' This sentence has many modifiers in the predicate, but you can still find two verbs and a conjunction. 'Climbed' and 'played' are still the two verbs, but the prepositional phrase 'on the monkey bars,' separates them.

Don't be fooled by prepositional phrases, there is still two verbs and the conjunction 'and' somewhere in between. This is a compound verb, which means the sentence has a compound predicate.

Here are some other examples of compound predicates. Note the conjunction and other modifiers that sometimes separate the two verbs.

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