Grammar Lesson: Complete and Simple Subjects

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Dec 10, 2010
  • The complete subject (the noun or pronoun that performs the action) contains all the words that help to identify the main person, place, thing, or idea in the sentence.
  • The complete subject in each sentence is italicized.

      Many teachers and two principals from our school attended the musical concert.
      Giraffes and monkeys in the local zoo captured the children's interest yesterday.
      This novel's last few chapters are replete with great sensory language.
  • The simple subject is the main word within the complete subject.
  • The simple subject is italicized in each of these sentences.

      This taco from the local store was quite tasty.
      Some people never cease to amaze me.
      These two swimmers graduated from the same high school.
      Around the corner is the local theater.


In each sentence, underline the complete subject and circle the simple subject.

  1. Threatening skies changed our picnic plans.
  2. Many engineers from neighboring communities have visited our sanitation plant over the last few years.
  3. Huge trucks blocked our roadway for an hour during last week's terrible snowstorm.
  4. The Padres will win the championship in our local softball league this season.
  5. The talented actress signed autographs for thirty minutes after the play


  1. Complete subject: Threatening skies; Simple subject: skies
  2. Complete subject: Many engineers from neighboring communities; Simple subject: engineers
  3. Complete subject: Huge trucks; Simple subject: trucks
  4. Complete subject: The Padres; Simple subject: Padres
  5. Complete subject: The talented actress; Simple subject: actress
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