A sentence needs legs to stand on: the subject and the predicate. The subject is who or what the sentence is about; the predicate is what the subject is doing.
In this sentence,
Mickey Mouse is a steamboat pilot.
the subject is Mickey Mouse. The predicate is “is a steamboat pilot.”
Let’s try this one:
Donald Duck, one of Mickey’s closest friends, raises his three nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
The easiest way to identify the subject and predicate is to find the verb. From there, we can find who is performing the action.
Why Writers Should Know This:
Knowing how to identify the subject and predicate of a sentence affords the writer greater control over his or her narrative style*. In addition, errors such as the comma splice, fragment, and run-on are easier to avoid.
*Dissect the sentence “Knowing…style” by underlining the subject and bold-ing the predicate.