The EFC Writer – Predicate Types


Welcome to the EFC Writer—a series of quick, easily digestible writing tips based on some stuff EFC Services editor Melissa Ruiz is seriously annoyed you’re still doing (or not doing, as the case may be).  


TODAY’S TOPIC: Predicate Types

How’ve you been doing with the different subject types? Feeling comfy slipping them into your prose? Great! Now, let’s add another layer of depth to the game: the different types of predicates!

Predicates, or the action bits of your sentences, also come in three varieties.

SIMPLE PREDICATE: a verb (and any helping verbs)


  • bounce
  • was drooling
  • could have driven

COMPLETE PREDICATE: a simple predicate and its modifiers


  • bounce on the trampoline
  • was drooling uncontrollably
  • could have driven to the airport

COMPOUND PREDICATE: two or more predicates with the same subject


  • (She) was bouncing on the trampoline and drinking a margarita.
  • (The hipster) drooled uncontrollably and fixed his bowtie.
  • (Your mom) could have driven or could have taken the metro.


If you’re interested in the names of all those modifiers, take a peek at adverbs, complements, and prepositional phrases. Also, if you’re using a verb that ends in -ing, don’t forget that helping verb (“was bouncing”)!

Now go do some editing, friends!



noun pred·i·cate \ˈpre-di-kət\

grammar : the part of a sentence that expresses what is said about the subject

Full Definition of PREDICATE

a :  something that is affirmed or denied of the subject in a proposition in logic
 b :  a term designating a property or relation
2:  the part of a sentence or clause that expresses what is said of the subject and that usually consists of a verb with or without objects, complements, or adverbial modifiers
pred·i·ca·tive \-kə-tiv, –ˌkā-\ adjective
pred·i·ca·tive·ly adverb

Examples of PREDICATE

  1. In the sentence The child threw the ball, the subject is the child and the predicate is threw the ball.


Further Reading/Sources: Grammar & Style at Your Fingertips by Lara M. Robbins

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