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English definition of “subject”


noun [C] (GRAMMAR)    /ˈsʌb.dʒekt/ specialized
B1 the person or thing that performs the action of a verb, or is joined to a description by a verb: 'Bob' is the subject of the sentence 'Bob threw the ball'. → Compare object nounLinguistic terms and linguistic style object nounGrammar:Dummy subjectsEnglish clauses which are not imperatives must have a subject. Sometimes we need to use a ‘dummy’ or ‘empty’ or ‘artificial’ subject when there is no subject attached to the verb, and where the real subject is somewhere else in the clause. It and there are the two dummy subjects used in English:See moreGrammar:It as a dummy subjectWe often use it as a dummy subject with adjectives and their complements:See moreGrammar:There as a dummy subjectThere operates as a dummy subject in the construction there is or there are. There is/are indicates that something or someone exists or is in a particular place or situation:See moreGrammar:SubjectsA subject is one of the five major elements of clause structure. The other four are: verb, object, complement and adjunct. Subjects are essential in declarative, negative and interrogative clauses.See moreGrammar:Subject positionIn statements (declarative clauses), the subject comes before the verb:See moreGrammar:Dummy subjectsThe subject is an essential part of a clause. Sometimes we need to use a ‘dummy’ subject where there is no other subject to put in the subject position. We use it or there as subjects:See moreGrammar:No subjectIn imperative clauses (orders, instructions, requests) we don’t include the subject:See moreGrammar:Subjects: typical errorsSee moreGrammar:Subject–verb agreementThe person and number of the subject of the clause determine the person and number of the verb of the clause. This is called subject–verb agreement or concord:See moreGrammar:Subject complementsA subject complement gives us more information about the subject. It usually comes after linking verbs and sense verbs (including be, seem, smell, taste), and after change of state verbs (including go, get, become).See moreGrammar:Subject complements: parts of speechSubject complements can be adjective phrases, noun phrases, adverb phrases or prepositional phrases:See moreGrammar:Pronouns as subject complementsWhen we use a pronoun as a subject complement after be, we usually use an object pronoun (e.g. me, him, us):See more
(Definition of subject noun (GRAMMAR) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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