What is a Predicate Nominative? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Predicate Nominative
  • 1:05 Identifying Predicate…
  • 2:18 Examples
  • 3:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth Hance

Elizabeth has taught elementary and middle school special education, and has a master's degree in reading education.

In this lesson, you'll learn about a part of a sentence known as the predicate nominative. The predicate nominative, sometimes called a subject complement, is a noun that follows a linking verb and is equal to the subject.

Predicate Nominative

A predicate nominative is a noun that comes after a linking verb and has the same meaning or value as the subject of a sentence. Let's break those terms down. The subject of a sentence is usually a noun that identifies what the sentence is about or who or what is doing an action. A linking verb connects the subject of a sentence to an adjective, noun, or prepositional phrase. It is not an action verb. Linking verbs most often include forms of the verb 'to be,' like:

  • am
  • is
  • are
  • was
  • were

They can also include other verbs such as 'remain' and 'became.' Other linking verbs refer to the five senses, like:

  • look
  • feel
  • taste
  • smell

So the predicate nominative is another noun that is equal to the subject in a sentence. In the following examples, the subjects and the predicate nominatives are shown in red:

Predicate Nominative

Identifying Predicate Nominatives

It's important to remember that predicate nominatives are nouns. Not every sentence with a linking verb will have a predicate nominative because linking verbs can connect subjects to adjectives that describe them. These examples have linking verbs but not predicate nominatives:

  • 'The nuts taste salty.' Here, 'salty' is an adjective that describes the nuts.
  • 'The sunset was beautiful.' In this sentence, 'beautiful' is an adjective that describes the sunset.

To find the predicate nominative in a sentence, start by identifying the verb. If the verb is doing something, the sentence doesn't have a predicate nominative. If the verb can be exchanged for a form of 'to be,' it is probably a linking verb. See if the sentence still makes sense. If it does, then you have a predicate nominative.

For example, take a look at this sentence:

  • Even after his break from the sport, he remained a leader.

Here the verb is 'remained.' Let's try replacing it with a form of 'to be' and see if the sentence still works:

  • Even after his break from the sport, he was a leader.

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