What can be a subject?

In general, a noun forms the subject of a clause. However, there are other possibilities. This section will provide an overview of what can form the subject of a clause.

  • A noun. We may recall that the nouns can be of different types, such as proper nouns, common nouns, compound nouns, and collective nouns. Understanding the number characteristic of nouns results in a better understanding of the subject–verb agreement. Here are some examples (the subjects are set in italics):
    • Tea has become my favourite drink nowadays.
    • Nouns can be classified as proper, common, collective, and compound.
    • Editor’s Essentials strives to make you an editor extraordinaire.
  • A noun phrase. A noun phrase is a group of words that represent a noun, for example, boiling point of water or the beauty of the sunrise. With noun phrases, the trick is to identify the head noun or the core noun; in the above two examples, the head nouns are boiling point and beauty.
    • The boiling point of water is 100° Celsius.
    • The beauty of the sunrise is matched only by the beauty of the sunset.
  • The gerund/infinitive form of a verb. This usually indicates some form of action and is considered uncountable. Some examples of gerunds are walking, discussing, and writing. The corresponding infinitives are to walk, to discuss, and to write. Again, the gerund or the infinitive form of a verb is considered uncountable.
    • Teaching editing is an exciting part of being an editor.
    • Understanding the number characteristic of nouns results in a better understanding of the subject–verb agreement.
  • A subordinate clause such as whether the match will be conducted as planned or that a breakdown will indicate a wrong procedure. As with the gerund form or infinitive form, a subordinate clause is also considered uncountable.
    • That she is an avid reader contributes to her being an editor extraordinaire.
    • Whether he will spend the night in the haunted house is a million-dollar question.
error: Content is protected !!