In the sentence "My brother Mike went to the store" what is the simple subject? Brother or Mike? And what is the identity of the word that is not the simple subject?

  • What does "the simple subject" mean? It's not a phrase I've ever heard. Perhaps you need to ask your teacher or look in your textbook.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 15, 2020 at 18:21

2 Answers 2


The subject is "My brother Mike" the two nouns are in apposition.

Unlike a situation with (for example) an adjective and a noun, you can't identify one as being the main word, and the other as being a modifier. Each noun is an adjunct to the other. The noun "My Brother" describes "Mike", and "Mike" names "My brother"

  • Thank you! So "My brother Mike" is all the simple subject? What about as an object? Would the same rule apply- for example, "I told my brother Mike to grow up"?
    – anon
    Nov 15, 2020 at 17:58
  • Yes. Two nouns placed next to each other, each acting as a modifier to the other. I'm not used to the phrase "simple subject" I guess it means the noun in the subject phrase, striped of all modifiers.
    – James K
    Nov 15, 2020 at 18:08

My brother went to the store

Mike went to the store

There is no question what is the subject in those sentences

My brother Mike went to the store

In that case, the second noun is said to be in apposition to the first. It seems to me that the most sensible way to think about it is to view the noun phrase “my brother Mike” as the subject. If there is some value in further subdivision, I’d class “brother” as the subject because it is more specific than “Mike.” There are millions of Mikes, but presumably my brothers are a less numerous set.

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