Should you take this quiz on 鈥渟hall鈥 versus 鈥渟hould鈥? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of predicate

First recorded in 1400鈥50; (noun) late Middle English, from Middle French predicat or directly from Medieval Latin praedic膩tum, noun use of neuter of Latin praedic膩tus, past participle of praedic膩re 鈥渢o declare publicly, assert,鈥 equivalent to prae- 鈥渂efore, in advance, early鈥 (see pre-) + dic膩(re) 鈥渢o show, make known, indicate鈥 (see indicate) + -tus past participle suffix; (verb and adjective) from Latin praedic膩tus; cf. preach


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2022


What does predicate mean?

The predicate is the part of the sentence or clause that says what the subject is or isn鈥檛 doing.

In the sentence I ran, the subject is I. The subject is the person, place, or thing that is performing an action. The predicate in this sentence is ran and is the action that the subject is performing.

A predicate always contains a verb, which may actually be a verb phrase. In the sentence I ran away from the angry dog, the entire predicate is ran away from the angry dog. In this case, the verb ran is being modified by a prepositional phrase that says what the subject of the sentence (I) was running from.

You can also have a compound predicate, in which one subject is performing more than one action at the same time. In the sentence, My sister studies French and works at a fancy restaurant, the subject (my sister) is performing two actions (studies French and works at a fancy restaurant). In this sentence, the two predicates are joined by the conjunction and.

Some sentences can be very long and complex, as in After explaining the differences between Batman and Man-Bat, my friend spoke for hours about the long and intricate history of batty superheroes. But just remember that the predicate is everything that says what a subject is doing.

Clauses contain at least one subject and predicate but isn鈥檛 necessarily a complete sentence. For example, in I told him about the girl that I once knew, that I once knew is a clause. The clause contains the subject I and the predicate once knew.

Why is predicate important?

The first records of the term predicate come from around 1400. It ultimately comes from the Latin praedic膩re, meaning 鈥渢o declare publicly鈥 or 鈥渢o assert.鈥 In grammar, the predicate declares or asserts what that the subject is (or isn鈥檛) doing.

While a predicate often says what a subject is doing, it can also say what it isn鈥檛 doing when the聽 verb is modified by a negative word such as not or never, as in Bill is not going to the party.

Did you know 鈥 ?

The shortest possible sentence in English contains just a predicate: Go! In this case, the subject (鈥測ou鈥) is not written but is understood.

What are real-life examples of predicate?

This image shows an example of sentences split into a subject and a predicate.

Slideshare.net / Sam Georgi

Predicates are taught early on in grammar education.

What other words are related to predicate?

Quiz yourself!

A predicate always contains a:

A. noun
B. verb
C. adjective
D. adverb

How to use predicate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for predicate


verb (藞pr蓻d瑟藢ke瑟t) (mainly tr)
noun (藞pr蓻d瑟k瑟t)
  1. the part of a sentence in which something is asserted or denied of the subject of a sentence; one of the two major components of a sentence, the other being the subject
  2. (as modifier)a predicate adjective
  1. an expression that is derived from a sentence by the deletion of a name
  2. a property, characteristic, or attribute that may be affirmed or denied of something. The categorial statement all men are mortal relates two predicates, is a man and is mortal
  3. the term of a categorial proposition that is affirmed or denied of its subject. In this example all men is the subject, and mortal is the predicate
  4. a function from individuals to truth values, the truth set of the function being the extension of the predicate
adjective (藞pr蓻d瑟k瑟t)
of or relating to something that has been predicated

Derived forms of predicate

predication, noun

Word Origin for predicate

C16: from Latin praedic膩re to assert publicly, from prae in front, in public + d墨cere to say
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for predicate

[ (pred-i-kuht) ]

The part of a sentence that shows what is being said about the subject. The predicate includes the main verb and all its modifiers. In the following sentence, the italicized portion is the predicate: 鈥淥lga's dog was the ugliest creature on four legs.鈥

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright 漏 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.