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I have this sentence..

My gift for walking and talking simultaneously did not fail to attract attention.

What should be the verb and subject in this line? As per me the verb should be walking and talking because it signifies action. And subject should be My because it is talking about me. But that doesnt seem to be correct. Any help??

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    Subject = (My) gift ; verb = (did not) fail ; the rest can be eliminated and you still have a sentence. The verb of a sentence needs to be finite, that is conjugated for person and number. Walking and talking are gerunds, and they are part of the prepositional phrase that begins with the preposition for. To attract attention is an object of the verb fail. – user6951 Jun 8 '15 at 15:29
  • Ok. consider me an idiot. Now tell me how did u come to this answer – Chandeep Jun 8 '15 at 15:30
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    No, not an idiot at all. Sentences can be hard to parse. – user6951 Jun 8 '15 at 15:34
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    I think @pazzo gave you a great advice: take out everything that you can from a sentence, so that it still has some meaning. Then find a subject and a predicate (verb group) of a sentence. Try it with your other example: 'Have you memorized the symbols?' you can later add the remaining elements. Whole phrases can be subjects and predicates in a sentence :-). It is difficult if not impossible to untangle grammar questions without using technical terms. But you can always Google those you are not familiar with :-). – Lucky Jun 8 '15 at 16:10
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    And please do try to spell out the whole words - it is encouraged here, because it is a website about language ;-). – Lucky Jun 8 '15 at 16:11
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My gift for walking and talking simultaneously did not fail to attract attention.

My technique is to identify and then strip out prepositional phrases first. They are easy to ID because they start with prepositions. So:

My gift for walking and talking simultaneously did not fail to attract attention.

What's left is:

My gift did not fail.

While this is a basic sentence it can stand on its own. Now, it is easy to find the subject (gift) and verb (fail).

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The verbal part in your sentence is "did not fail". You ask what1 (nominative) did not fail? Answer: My gift for walking and talking simultaneously. Here the subject is not a simple noun or personal pronoun but the longer noun group "my gift for something.

So the sentence has three parts:

My gift for walking and talking simultaneously | did not fail | to attract attention.

You can see the to-infinitve as a kind of object to the verb fail or simply as an infinitive-complement to the verb.

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