Magnum Proofreading Blog | Introduction to Predicates

Predicates: Introduction


Posted by Jake Magnum | April 10, 2018 | Predicates

This article in the Predicates series is a short introduction to this grammatical function. Subsequent articles in this series will give detailed discussions of different kinds of predicates.

What is a predicate?

Perhaps the best definition of a predicate is that a predicate is everything in a sentence that is not the subject. A predicate can also be defined as the part of a sentence which says something about the sentence’s subject.

A defining characteristic of predicates is that all predicates must contain a verb phrase. Some predicates consist of nothing but a single verb, such as in the phrase:

She spoke.

Predicates can also be quite lengthy:

She spoke for half an hour about the book she had spent most of the previous day reading.

An essential element of any predicate is the predicator. The predicator of a sentence is the verb around which the predicate revolves. For example, spoke is the predicator of both the above examples.


Aarts, B. (2011). Oxford modern English grammar. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.