Sometimes finding the subject of a sentence can be difficult. (Subjects tells us whom or what the sentence is about.)
Can you find the subjects of these sentences?
Of course, that tip is only helpful if you know what prepositional phrases are! Prepositional phrases are groups of words that start with a preposition and end with a noun or pronoun.
into the store, around the red house, up the tree, down the mountain
Check out the prepositional phrases page to learn more.
Let's get back to our examples.
You might look at that sentence and have brain-overload. You know that subjects are usually nouns, but there are four nouns in that sentence.
Eek! What are you going to do?
Since prepositional phrases contain nouns and pronouns, when we cross them out, we eliminate many potential subjects because we're eliminating many nouns or pronouns.
Now it's much easier to see that students is the subject of the sentence.
Can you identify the subject? This sentence has three contenders.
You might be fooled into thinking that students is the subject of this sentence. After all, the sentence is about the students, right?
Well, sort of. The subject of the sentence is actually each.
If you know your prepositions, you know that of the students is a prepositional phrase, and subjects will never be in prepositional phrases.
Now it's much easier to see that each is the subject of the sentence.
*Note that identifying the correct subject will help you choose the correct form of the verb. If the subject were students, the verb would be study. (subject-verb agreement)
For those of you who would like more information on prepositions, you can learn more on these pages:
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