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What is a Complete Predicate? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Is a Complete Sentence?
  • 1:24 Identifying the…
  • 2:51 Practice
  • 4:28 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.

In this lesson, we will review what makes a sentence complete. Then, we will look closer at the two main parts of a sentence. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to identify the complete subject and the complete predicate of any sentence.

What is a Complete Sentence?

Have you ever listened to someone who broke off in mid-sentence? Were you left wondering what that person was talking about and ended up confused because you only heard part of the information?

Humans, in general, speak similarly to how we write: in complete sentences. If something is missing, then the listener is often left perplexed. Similarly, if we leave something out of our writing, then the reader is left confused. Therefore, we must always make sure to have all the necessary information in each sentence.

In its simplest definition, a sentence is a group of words expressing a complete thought. There are two main parts every sentence must have in order for that sentence to be considered complete: a subject and a predicate. The subject is the main actor; it is the person or thing doing the action. The predicate, then, is the action, also known as the verb. If a sentence has a subject and a predicate, then it is a complete sentence.

However, for most sentences you won't have just a simple subject and predicate. There are usually other words within the sentence, which is where we come to the complete subject and complete predicate. For this lesson, we are just going to focus on the complete predicate.

Identifying the Complete Predicate

Take a look at the following example:

'The large dog chased the cat.'

What is the action in this sentence? The action is chased, so 'chased' is the predicate. However, you may notice there are many other words in this sentence. 'Chased' is just the simple predicate, which is the main word in the predicate. So, what about the other words?

Look again at the sentence. Remember that we determined the verb 'chased' is the action and thus the simple predicate. Which words are attached to 'chased'? You should see that 'the' and 'cat' are attached to the action. What did the dog chase? The cat. Thus, 'chased the cat' is the complete predicate. A complete predicate includes all the words that are attached to the verb or the action.

Let's look at another example:

'People around the world tell the story of Cinderella.'

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