IELTS Grammar: Subject and Object in English grammar; how to identify; with explanations and examples

If you want to understand different rules of English Grammar, Subject and Object are some of the most important basic terms where you need a clear concept. They are also important to understand different complex sentences in IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. So, you should recognise, identify and use them appropriately. This post will help you to strengthen your ability to understanding of subject and object.

IELTS Grammar: Subject and Object in English grammar; how to identify; with explanations and examples

What’s a Subject?

In grammar a subject in a sentence is a noun, pronoun or noun phrase that represents the person or thing that performs the action (explains by whom or what the action is done).

We study at N@jib’s Language Learning Center.      Pricilla teaches at N@jib’s.

In the first sentence the verb ‘study’ is done by the subject ‘We’. Here, the word ‘We’ is a pronoun.

In the second sentence the verb ‘teaches’ is done by the subject ‘Pricilla’. Here, the word ‘Pricilla’ is a noun.

Also, a subject is the person(s) or thing(s) about which something is stated.

Najibur is a language teacher.                                  The classrooms are neat and clean.

Here, in the first sentence the auxiliary verb ‘is’ refers to/ introduces the subject ‘Najibur’.

In the second sentence the auxiliary verb ‘are’ talks about the Subject ‘The classrooms’.

Technique to recognize Subject:

Look at the following sentences:

  1. I work at the factory.
  2. Brian studies in Accounting.
  3. Peter and Susan helped me.
  4. The sun gives us light.

First, we need to identify the verbs in the sentences.

Remember, in most cases, if any word or phrase is preceded by a ‘preposition’, we cannot take them as subject or object; they are the extensions of the sentences.

What’s an extension?

An extension is the part or parts of a sentence which doesn’t affect the sentence if excluded. It is not an integral part of a sentence.

So, for the first two sentences we have to exclude ‘at the factory’ and ‘in Accounting’ are extensions.

Let’s consider the definition of verb now. “A verb shows an action or state of being. A verb shows what someone or something is doing.”

So, in these sentences, we find some words which describe action. The words are ‘work’, ‘studies’, ‘helped’ and ‘gives’.

All these words describe the action in the sentences. So, all of them are verbs.

Now, as we have identified the verbs of the sentences, we need to ask questions using the verbs. Thus, we can find out the subjects.

First sentence:             I work at the factory.

Question: Who/what works at the factory?

Answer: I.

So, in this sentence, ‘I’ is the subject. Remember, ‘I’ is a pronoun.

Second sentence:        Brian studies in Accounting.

Question: Who/what studies in Accounting?

Answer: Brian.

So, in this sentence, ‘Brian’ is the subject. Remember, ‘Brian’ is a noun.

Third sentence:           Peter and Susan helped me.

Question: Who/what helped me?

Answer: Peter and Susan

So, in this sentence, ‘Peter and Susan’ are the subjects. Remember, ‘Peter and Susan’ are nouns.

Fourth sentence:         The sun gives us light.

Question: Who/what gives us light?

Answer: The sun 

So, in this sentence, ‘The sun’ is the subject. Remember, ‘The sun’ is a noun phrase.

What’s an Object?

In grammar a subject in a sentence is a noun, pronoun or noun phrase that represents the person or thing that performs the action (explains by whom or what the action is done).

Direct object:

The direct object most often refers to a person or thing (or people or things) affected by the action of the verb.

In the sentence ‘Peter and Susan helped me’, the word ‘me’ is a direct object.

Indirect object:

The indirect object usually refers to a person (or people) or thing (or things) who receive(s) the direct object.
In the sentence ‘The sun gives us light’, the indirect object is ‘us’, who receive the direct objectlight’.

Exercises:

Identify the subjects, objects and extensions from the following sentences.

  1. I took a glass of milk.
  2. She can do it. 
  3. My heart is beating.
  4. We will beat the rival team.
  5. Life is not a bed of roses.
  6. Man is mortal.
  7. Please read carefully.
  8. We have been reading since morning.
  9. Hatred is the madness of soul.
  10. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
  11. I liked her because she was my best friend. 
  12. They went to the spot where the homicide happened. 
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