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Simple and Complete Predicates 

Grade 5
Aug 27, 2022

Read the following sentences: 

  1. The kid in the blue shirt is sitting in a corner reading a book. 
  2. A teddy is lying down on the floor. 
  3. The kid in the blue shirt is reading a book. 
  4. Two kids are playing on a seesaw. 

Since in the previous session you have come across the simple and complete subjects, it would be pretty clear to you as to what has happened here with the predicates as well. 

Yes, this is because there is a tiny classification within the predicate part of  a sentence as well, just like the classification of subjects

Simple and Complete Predicates: 

Read the following sentences: 

Sentence 1: The thieves were running. 

Sentence 2: The thieves were running very quickly to save themselves. 


Now, we know that a predicate is that part of a sentence which typically talks about the subject. The predicate of a sentence follows the subject

Now obviously, the predicate in sentence 1 is were running. Here we have the predicate simply as it is. That is, the predicate here is expressed entirely in one action word in the verb phrase. It doesn’t have any word that modifies the action word, nor does it have any other word that describes it following it.  

But in sentence 2, we have a predicate that goes were running very quicky to save themselves. Here, the verb is modified by words such as very quickly to save themselves, and these modifiers are taken seriously to extract more information from the sentence. 

Now, since we have called the subjects like these by some names like the simple and complete subjects, it is only fair to give these kinds of predicates some name as well, right? 

Let us start with the predicate given in sentence 2. 


In sentence 2, the predicate is were running very quicky to save themselves. Here, like mentioned above, we have the predicate represented with all its modifiers, also known as adjectives and other words that describe it to give us more information. Since all the modifiers of the verb are taken into serious consideration, we call it the complete predicate. 

Now, let’s define what a complete predicate is: 

A verb that shows the action and the modifying phrase that completes the thought; in other words, everything else in the sentence that isn’t the subject is a complete subject.For instance, in the sentence; I am upset over his recent behavior; the complete predicate is am upset over his recent behavior. 

More examples: 

  • We have been living here for the past seven years. 
  • The kid has been crying all night. 
  • Tinu’s friendsare planning to go to a movie later in the evening. 

Now, let’s go back to sentence 1 given earlier, that is; The thieves were running. 

Since in such instances, the predicate is represented simply as the verb as it is, without any modifiers, we call it the simple predicate

Now, let’s define what a simple predicate is: 

The simple predicate is a single word or group of words that represent the verb without any of its modifiers if it is a verb phrase. Here, we can only extract the basic action that is being talked about in the sentence without any further information. For instance, in the sentence; I am upset over his recent behavior; the simple predicate is am upset.  

And why is that so? 

Because here, the modifiers that describe the verb in its entirety are not considered. 

More examples: 

  • We have been living here for the past seven years. 
  • The kid has been crying all night. 
  • Tinu’sfriends are planning to go to a movie later in the evening. 


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