Subject (grammar)

subjectsubjectsgrammatical subject(subj.)Ssubjecthood
The subject in a simple English sentence such as John runs, John is a teacher, or John was ran over by a car is the person or thing about whom the statement is made, in this case 'John'.wikipedia
459 Related Articles

Clause

clausesfinite clauseclausal
Traditionally the subject is the word or phrase which controls the verb in the clause, that is to say with which the verb agrees (John is but John and Mary are). If there is no verb, as in John - what an idiot!, or if the verb has a different subject, as in John - I can't stand him!, then 'John' is not considered to be the grammatical subject, but can be described as the 'topic' of the sentence. The subject (glossing abbreviations: or ) is, according to a tradition that can be traced back to Aristotle (and that is associated with phrase structure grammars), one of the two main constituents of a clause, the other constituent being the predicate, whereby the predicate says something about the subject.
A typical clause consists of a subject and a predicate, the latter typically a verb phrase, a verb with any objects and other modifiers.

Verb

verbsv.verbal morphology
Traditionally the subject is the word or phrase which controls the verb in the clause, that is to say with which the verb agrees (John is but John and Mary are). If there is no verb, as in John - what an idiot!, or if the verb has a different subject, as in John - I can't stand him!, then 'John' is not considered to be the grammatical subject, but can be described as the 'topic' of the sentence.
A verb may also agree with the person, gender or number of some of its arguments, such as its subject, or object.

Sentence (linguistics)

sentencesentencesdeclarative sentence
The subject in a simple English sentence such as John runs, John is a teacher, or John was ran over by a car is the person or thing about whom the statement is made, in this case 'John'.
Typically a sentence contains a subject and predicate.

Nominative case

nominativenom.NOM
In languages such as Latin or German the subject of a verb has a form which is known as the nominative case: for example, the form 'he' (not 'him' or 'his') is used in sentences such as he ran, he broke the window, he is a teacher, he was hit by a car.
The nominative case (abbreviated ), subjective case, straight case or upright case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments.

Noun

nounssubstantiveabstract noun
But there are some languages such as Basque or Greenlandic, in which the form of a noun or pronoun when the verb is intransitive (he ran) is different from when the verb is transitive (he broke the window). In these languages, which are known as ergative languages, the concept of 'subject' may not apply at all.
Linguistically, a noun is a member of a large, open part of speech whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition.

Greenlandic language

GreenlandicKalaallisutGreenlandic Inuit
But there are some languages such as Basque or Greenlandic, in which the form of a noun or pronoun when the verb is intransitive (he ran) is different from when the verb is transitive (he broke the window). In these languages, which are known as ergative languages, the concept of 'subject' may not apply at all.
Verbs are inflected for one of the eight moods and for the number and person of its subject and object.

Ergative–absolutive language

ergativeergative–absolutiveergativity
But there are some languages such as Basque or Greenlandic, in which the form of a noun or pronoun when the verb is intransitive (he ran) is different from when the verb is transitive (he broke the window). In these languages, which are known as ergative languages, the concept of 'subject' may not apply at all.
Ergative–absolutive languages, or ergative languages are languages that share a certain distinctive pattern relating to the subjects (technically, arguments) of verbs.

Intransitive verb

intransitiveintransitive verbsintransitively
But there are some languages such as Basque or Greenlandic, in which the form of a noun or pronoun when the verb is intransitive (he ran) is different from when the verb is transitive (he broke the window). In these languages, which are known as ergative languages, the concept of 'subject' may not apply at all.
The sentence can be made passive with the direct object "Mary" as the grammatical subject as follows:

Predicate (grammar)

predicatepredicatespredication
The subject (glossing abbreviations: or ) is, according to a tradition that can be traced back to Aristotle (and that is associated with phrase structure grammars), one of the two main constituents of a clause, the other constituent being the predicate, whereby the predicate says something about the subject.
The first concerns traditional grammar, which tends to view a predicate as one of two main parts of a sentence, the other part being the subject.

Pronoun

pronounspronominalpronominal system
But there are some languages such as Basque or Greenlandic, in which the form of a noun or pronoun when the verb is intransitive (he ran) is different from when the verb is transitive (he broke the window). In these languages, which are known as ergative languages, the concept of 'subject' may not apply at all.
Subject pronouns are used in subject position (I like to eat chips, but she does not). Object pronouns are used for the object of a verb or preposition (John likes me but not her).

Transitive verb

transitivetransitive verbstransitivity
But there are some languages such as Basque or Greenlandic, in which the form of a noun or pronoun when the verb is intransitive (he ran) is different from when the verb is transitive (he broke the window). In these languages, which are known as ergative languages, the concept of 'subject' may not apply at all.
Verbs that require only two arguments, a subject and a single direct object, are monotransitive.

Topic and comment

topictopic–commenttheme
Traditionally the subject is the word or phrase which controls the verb in the clause, that is to say with which the verb agrees (John is but John and Mary are). If there is no verb, as in John - what an idiot!, or if the verb has a different subject, as in John - I can't stand him!, then 'John' is not considered to be the grammatical subject, but can be described as the 'topic' of the sentence.
The difference between "topic" and grammatical subject is that topic is used to describe the information structure, or pragmatic structure of a clause and how it coheres with other clauses, whereas the subject is a purely grammatical category.

Finite verb

finitefinite formsfinite form
All of these positions see the subject in English determining person and number agreement on the finite verb, as exemplified by the difference in verb forms between he eats and they eat.
A finite verb is a form of a verb that has a subject (expressed or implied) and can function as the root of an independent clause; an independent clause can, in turn, stand alone as a complete sentence.

Phrase structure grammar

phrase structureconstituencyconstituency grammar
The subject (glossing abbreviations: or ) is, according to a tradition that can be traced back to Aristotle (and that is associated with phrase structure grammars), one of the two main constituents of a clause, the other constituent being the predicate, whereby the predicate says something about the subject.
The constituency relation derives from the subject-predicate division of Latin and Greek grammars that is based on term logic and reaches back to Aristotle in antiquity.

Agreement (linguistics)

agreementagreegrammatical agreement
Traditionally the subject is the word or phrase which controls the verb in the clause, that is to say with which the verb agrees (John is but John and Mary are). If there is no verb, as in John - what an idiot!, or if the verb has a different subject, as in John - I can't stand him!, then 'John' is not considered to be the grammatical subject, but can be described as the 'topic' of the sentence. All of these positions see the subject in English determining person and number agreement on the finite verb, as exemplified by the difference in verb forms between he eats and they eat.
This is because the grammar of the language requires that the verb and its subject agree in person.

Latin

Lat.Latin languagelat
In languages such as Latin or German the subject of a verb has a form which is known as the nominative case: for example, the form 'he' (not 'him' or 'his') is used in sentences such as he ran, he broke the window, he is a teacher, he was hit by a car.
1) Nominative – used when the noun is the subject or a predicate nominative. The thing or person acting: the girl ran: puella cucurrit, or cucurrit puella

Agent (grammar)

agentagentsagental
The stereotypical subject immediately precedes the finite verb in declarative sentences in English and represents an agent or a theme.
The agent is a semantic concept distinct from the subject of a sentence.

Gerund

gerundsfused participlegerund suffix
| A gerund (phrase) || His constant hammering was annoying.
Moreover, the clause may function within a sentence as subject or object, which is impossible for a Latin gerund.

Subject–auxiliary inversion

subject-auxiliary inversioninversioninversion of subject and auxiliary
In the second sentence, which involves the subject-auxiliary inversion of a yes/no-question, the subject immediately follows the finite verb (instead of immediately preceding it), which means the second criterion is flouted.
Subject–auxiliary inversion (also called subject–operator inversion) is a frequently occurring type of inversion in English, whereby a finite auxiliary verb – taken here to include finite forms of the copula be – appears to "invert" (change places) with the subject.

Copula (linguistics)

copulato becopular
Copula
In linguistics, a copula (plural: copulas or copulae; abbreviated ) is a word used to link the subject of a sentence with a predicate (a subject complement), such as the word is in the sentence "The sky is blue."

Subject–verb inversion in English

locative inversionsubject-verb inversionsubject–verb inversion
The following subsections briefly illustrate three such cases in English: 1) existential there-constructions, 2) inverse copular constructions, and 3) locative inversion constructions.
Subject–verb inversion in English is a type of inversion where the subject and verb (or chain of verbs, verb catena) switch their canonical order of appearance, so that the subject follows the verb(s), e.g. A lamp stood beside the bed → Beside the bed stood a lamp.

Pro-drop language

pro-dropPro-drop languagesdropped
This dropping pattern does not automatically make a language a pro-drop language.
The term "pro-drop" stems from Noam Chomsky's "Lectures on Government and Binding" from 1981 as a cluster of properties of which "null subject" was one (for the occurrence of pro as a predicate rather than a subject in sentences with the copula see Moro 1997).

List of glossing abbreviations

abbreviatedglossing abbreviationglossing abbreviations
The subject (glossing abbreviations: or ) is, according to a tradition that can be traced back to Aristotle (and that is associated with phrase structure grammars), one of the two main constituents of a clause, the other constituent being the predicate, whereby the predicate says something about the subject.

Constituent (linguistics)

constituentconstituentssyntactic constituents
The subject (glossing abbreviations: or ) is, according to a tradition that can be traced back to Aristotle (and that is associated with phrase structure grammars), one of the two main constituents of a clause, the other constituent being the predicate, whereby the predicate says something about the subject.
The object of the active sentence is changed to the subject of the corresponding passive sentence:

Syntactic expletive

expletiveexpletivesdummy
| An expletive || It is raining.
Expletive subjects in the form of dummy pronouns are part of the grammar of many non-pro-drop languages such as English, whose clauses normally require overt provision of subject even when the subject can be pragmatically inferred.