Chapter 33

Language Usage and Style

Subject and Verb

The subject of a sentence is the person, place, or thing that is the main focus of the sentence. To find the subject of a sentence, first locate the verb. Then answer the question: “What or who is being ‘verbed’?” For instance, in the sentence “The monkeys in the treetops must be observed,” the verb is must be observed. So, what must be observed? The answer is monkeys. A simple subject is the subject without any modifiers. For example, the simple subject of the following sentence is event: “The upcoming event, stripped of all the hype, is nothing but a fund-raiser.”

Sometimes a simple subject can be more than one word or even an entire clause. Consider the following: “What he had forgotten ...

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