Can anyone help me to identify what the subject, nouns, and verbs are in this sentence?

Recognizing and pursuing only your interests results in a selfish, collapsing world order.

1 Answer 1


Recognizing and pursuing only your interests results in a selfish, collapsing world order.

At the most basic level, this sentence has a very simple structure:

[Subject] [verbs] [object].

But the subject, verb, and object are each composed of multiple words, which makes it rather tricky!

Let's start with the verb. The sentence is in the present tense, so we can tell that the verb is the one in the middle with an s on the end of it: results. In fact it is the prepositional verb results in.

The object is the thing that comes after the verb: an order. This object, which is of course a noun, has an adjective attached: a world order. And this compound noun "world order" is itself modified by two additional adjectives to form the complete noun phrase: a selfish, collapsing world order.

The only thing left in the sentence is the subject, and this subject is especially complicated. The subject must be a noun, and in this case the subject is two nouns taken together: recognizing and pursuing. These are gerunds. A gerund is a thing that describes an action; of course usually we call that kind of word a "verb," but a gerund is a verb that is used as a noun to refer to the action in general instead of referring to a specific instance of that action happening. For this reason gerunds are sometimes called verbal nouns.

As it happens, the verbs that form the base of these gerunds—to recognize and to pursue—are both transitive verbs. Therefore we need an object that will belong to the two verbal nouns: interests. This noun is modified by an adjective: your interests. And just like in the main object, the compound noun is modified yet again: only your interests.

So we have a very simple sentence made up of pretty complex parts:

  • Subject: Recognizing and pursuing only your interests
  • Verb: results in
  • Object: a selfish, collapsing world order.
  • Thank you so much. This has been very informative. Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 0:14
  • Nicely done! I think one other thing that makes this sentence especially tricky for the learner is that results can be either a noun or a verb!
    – stangdon
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 0:23
  • Randomhead, I find multiple issues with this answer. First you should have made a distinction between a function and category, rather you mixed it up. Verb though sometimes used for both function and category, it is better to use Predicator for the function the verb does here. The word "world" is never an adjective, rather it is a noun used as an attributive modifier of the head in Noun Phrase structure. It is not always correct that a subject has to have a Noun Phrase. In here recognising and persuing are not noun, they are actually a verb. Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 2:28
  • 2
    @Man_From_India You're wrong or unhelpful on every point. Please either try harder, or don't try so hard. You use the words "function" and "category" that don't appear in the question. What do you mean? I don't know what a "Predicator" is, so probably Kristin doesn't either. The word "world" is an adjective Merriam-Webster. An expression like "attributive modifier of the head noun in Noun Phrase structure" is a useless thing to say to a student. "Adjective" is a much nicer thing to say, even if it were a mere compound noun. Gerunds are nouns.
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 2:47
  • And here the subject is realised by a non finite clause. Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 2:47

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