Skip to Main Content
This is a free sample lesson. Sign up for Magoosh to get access to over 200 video lessons.



Predicates. In the discussion of grammar, we need to describe some of the terms of basic grammatical structures. This will allow us to talk about more complicated grammatical structures later on. The predicate is everything in the sentence that is not the subject and, and the subject modifiers.

Typically, this is the verb and anything that follows and modifies the verb, including all adverbs and adverbial phrases. Remember, none of these grammar terms are necessary to know. The GMAT is not going to ask you, which rul, which word is a verb? Which verb is an adverbial phrase? Or something like this.

In particular the idea of a predicate is one way to think about the organization of a sentence. And we will be mentioning it several times when we talk about more sophisticated structures later, in later modules. The predicate of a transitive verb includes the direct object. And incidentally if you're not familiar with the distinction of transitive versus intransitive verbs, that's one of the previous videos of this particular module.

So a transitive verb takes a direct object. All of these are transitive verbs and everything in purple here, all of these are predicates. Notice that many of them are very long. In some cases, what's in green, the subject, that's very, very short. So, the, the predicate can be most of the sentence.

The predicate of an intransitive verb, a verb that doesn't take a direct object, may be relatively short, or may include long adverbial phrases. So these are some examples. Again in purple we have the predicate. In the second sentence notice that the predicate is only those two words. So, it's particularly short.

So, it may be short or may be a little bit longer. Again this is a useful way to think about how a sentence is organized. When we learn about infinitives and participles and gerunds, and we add to them the other elements of a predicate, we make a phrase. So we'll be talking about all these, infinitive phrases, participial phrases, and gerund phrases later on in this module.

We'll also discuss in greater detail in the parallelism section the problem of repeating a predicate. So consider this sentence. Monica wrote a letter to the governor to complain about the new sales tax months before Sam wrote a letter to the governor to complain about the new sales tax. Well, that is a horribly repetitive sentence.

And, of course, what's wrong with that sentence is we're repeating that same predicate twice. Well what's the solution? We can replace the repeated predicate with the abbreviation did so. Months before Sam did so. Now that is an example of a structure that you would definitely will see on more sophisticated sentence correction questions.

A form of the verb to do, plus so, is the abbreviation for any repeated predicate. In summary, the predicate is the verb, and everything that quote, unquote, goes with the verb. Verb forms, such as infinitives and gerunds and participles, if we add a predicate, we get a phrase. We turn a single-word verb form into a phrase by adding a predicate.

And something we'll discuss much more in the module on parallelism. To repeat a predicate in the sentence, we use do so or did so.

Read full transcript