The sentence I need to parse:

"Had" is the Past Tense of the verb to "have".

I can see that "Had" is the subject. But what part of the sentence is the predicate?

Am I right thinking that "Past" is the attribute of the sentence?

What is "of the verb to 'have'"? Is it the object?

  • 1
    Structurally, your example is no different to, say, Black is the exact opposite of white. Where my exact and your Past are "adjectives" - which you could say identify "attributes / qualities" of the associated nouns ("opposite" and "Tense"). Do you really care what's called a predicate, and what's called a complement? I can't be bothered to read that link, but maybe you can. Nov 30, 2019 at 19:33
  • Sorry, I'm afraid I don't know anything about a complement. I'm just beginning to figure out what is what in Grammar.
    – Let
    Dec 1, 2019 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


Your sentence (I've corrected some minor capitalisation and punctuation issues):

"Had" is the past tense of the verb "to have".

You correctly note that "Had" is the subject. This is a mentioned word, which is why there are quote marks. The predicate is the part of the sentence that tells you about the subject. The predicate is

is the past tense of the verb "to have"

The word "past" is an adjective, here it is modifying the noun "tense". Sentences don't have attributes, but an adjective gives an attribute to a noun. The phrase "past tense" is stable enough to be considered a compound, so you can consider "past tense" to be one word.

"of the word "have" is a prepositional phrase, and it modifies the noun phrase "past tense". It tells you which word's past tense you are discussing. Compare this with

This is a hair of my dog.
This [subject] is [verb] (a hair) [noun] (of my dog)[prep phrase]

The structure is broadly the same.

  • Thanks! Let me see... "I will wash my hands". "I" is the subject, "wash my hands" is the predicate? Or is it like this: "I" is the subject, "wash" is the predicate, "my hands" is the direct object?
    – Let
    Nov 30, 2019 at 23:17
  • Or "I swam in the lake yesterday", "I" is the subject, "swam in the lake yesterday" is the predicate, where "in the lake yesterday" is a part of the predicate known as an adverbial?
    – Let
    Nov 30, 2019 at 23:23
  • 1
    "Wash my hands" adn "swam in the lake" are predicates, they tell you what the subject does. My hands is the direct object of wash.
    – James K
    Nov 30, 2019 at 23:33
  • If I say "I went for a walk and I thought about the future" does this mean this sentence has two subjects "I" and "I" respectively and two predicates, which are "went for a walk" and "thought about the future"? If so, can I say that those predicates are the complete predicates, but a simple predicate would be "went" and "thought"?
    – Let
    Dec 1, 2019 at 18:31
  • Two coordinate clauses, each one has subject and a predicate. The first clause has a predicate of "went for a walk" and the second cluase has a prediate of "thought about the future". However the subject/predicate model might not always be most useful model of grammar for you. You might prefer a model that doesn't mix up the verb with its various objects and or complements/adjuncts.
    – James K
    Dec 1, 2019 at 18:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .