The simple subject of a sentence is the person, place, thing, or idea that the sentence is about. It is the noun that performs the action of the verb. The simple subject can be one word or a group of words.

How do I find the simple subject?

To find the simple subject of a sentence, ask yourself who or what is performing the action of the verb. For example, in the sentence "The cat sat on the mat," the simple subject is "cat." The verb is "sat," and the cat is the one who is sitting.

Simple subject examples

  • The dog chased the ball.
  • The children played in the park.
  • The teacher gave the students a test.
  • The house is on the hill.
  • The idea is interesting.

The simple subject of a sentence can also be a compound subject. A compound subject is two or more simple subjects joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor). For example, in the sentence "The cat and the dog played together," the simple subjects are "cat" and "dog."

Compound subject examples 

  • The students and the teacher discussed the book.
  • The red and blue balloons were floating in the air.
  • Ice cream and cake are my favourite desserts.

The simple subject of a sentence is important because it determines the number of the verb. The verb must agree with the subject in number, meaning that it must be singular or plural depending on whether the subject is singular or plural. For example, in the sentence "The cat sat on the mat," the subject is singular, so the verb must also be singular.

Here is an example of a subject-verb disagreement:

The cats is sitting on the mat.

In this sentence, the subject is plural, but the verb is singular. This is incorrect. The correct sentence is:

The cats are sitting on the mat.

Understanding simple subjects is an integral part of grammar. By identifying simple subjects, you can write and speak more clearly and effectively.

Dave Child

Dave is the founder of Readable and has been building websites since the early 90s. He’s one of those fortunate people who gets to do what he loves for a living.