A predicate noun is also called a predicate nominative. A predicate noun has a dual function in a sentence. Following is an explanation of the predicate noun and some examples.
A predicate noun is a single noun or a noun phrase that renames the subject of a sentence and follows a form of the verb “to be” or another linking verb. Forms of the verb “to be” include: is, was, am, are, be, being, been, has been, may be, and were. Other verbs that may be linking verbs or action verbs include: smell, taste, feel, sound, grow, seem, remain, become, continue, appear, turn, and stay.
Examples of sentences with the predicate nouns underlined are:
- Mr. Smith is a doctor.
- My son became a professional soccer player.
- Mary Smith may be our next president.
- The children seemed excited about Christmas.
- J. K. Rowling is an excellent author.
- Wind turbines are an alternative source of power.
- Pavarotti was a great singer.
- For the next twenty years, we remained friends.
A predicate noun is also called a completer, or complement, because it completes the verb. The verb in this case is called an intransitive verb and must be followed by a noun or noun phrase. This noun or noun phrase completes the meaning of the sentence. Every sentence has a subject and a predicate, so the intransitive verb and the predicate noun make up the predicate of the sentence.
Now that you understand predicate nouns, you might want to know what other functions nouns have in a sentence. Nouns represent living and non-living things, places, and abstract ideas. There are several functions that will be explained and examples will be offered for each one of them.
- SUBJECT: A noun is often the subject of a sentence. The subject is what the sentence is about. It is who or what is performing an action or being in a certain way. An example would be: “Dolphins are mammals that have lungs and breathe air.” Dolphins is the subject.
- DIRECT OBJECT: A noun that is a direct object follows a transitive verb and answers the questions “What?” or “Who?” An example is: “The girls played basketball.” Basketball is the direct object.
- INDIRECT OBJECT: When a noun acts as an indirect object, it answers the questions “To whom, to what, for whom, or for what?” Here is an example: “He bought Ted a boat.” Since he bought a boat for Ted, the indirect object is Ted.
- OBJECT OF A PREPOSITION: Prepositions are words like: by, in, out, between, over, under, and up, which need an object to complete the prepositional phrase. Examples are: to the school, up a tree, below the ground, and over the rainbow.
- APPOSITIVE: A noun that is an appositive renames the word adjacent to it. This enriches the meaning of the noun or pronoun that the appositive is near. One example is: “Your brother, Sam, will be here soon.” The appositive is Sam.
- OBJECT COMPLEMENT: These nouns follow a direct object and modify it. “The people elected her chairman.” is an example and the object complement is chairman.
Since you now understand predicate nouns, you may be interested to learn a bit about predicate adjectives. Adjectives modify nouns, which includes describing them and giving more information about them, like their composition, their origin, your opinion of them, and their purpose.
A predicate adjective is very similar to a predicate noun in that it completes the predicate and follows an intransitive verb. These are verbs like: am, is, was, were, has been, are, smell, remain, seem, sound, stay, continue, become, and grow.
Instead of renaming the subject, it modifies it. Here are some sentences with the predicate adjective underlined.
- Antarctica is cold, barren, and frozen.
- My recipe is French.
- The dancers were agile, energetic, and beautiful.
- During the storm, driving became difficult.
- Her performance was phenomenal.
- She was sad, alone, and miserable.
- We are under-paid.