The grammatical subject of a sentence or clause is a noun, a group of words acting as a noun, or a pronoun. In an interrogative sentence, the subject usually follows the first part of a verb ("Does the dog ever bark?"). Nordquist, Richard. In traditional grammar, a simple subject is the particular noun or pronoun that tells who or what a sentence or clause is about. Subject in English Grammar with Definition and Examples; Object in English Grammar with Definition and Examples; Complement in English Grammar with All Information; Categories English Grammar Post navigation. If there is no verb, as in John - what an idiot!, or if the verb has a different subject, as in John - I can't stand him!, then 'John' is not considered to be the grammatical subject, but can be de… . It can either be a person, a place, a thing, or an idea, and can come in the form of a noun or a pronoun. A noun phrase functioning as one of the main components of a clause, being the element about which the rest of the clause is predicated. . Definition and Examples of Agreement in English Grammar, Understanding the Types of Verbs in English Grammar. The subject is the part of the sentence that performs an action or which is associated with the action. This dropping pattern does not automatically make a language a pro-drop language. In languages such as Latin and German the subject of a verb has a form which is known as the nominative case: for example, the form 'he' (not 'him' or 'his') is used in sentences such as he ran, he broke the window, he is a teacher, he was hit by a car. Traditionally the subject is the word or phrase which controls the verb in the clause, that is to say with which the verb agrees(John is but John and Mary are). for a discussion of the traditional subject concept. The criteria easily identify spiders as the subject in sentence a. . The dog chewed the bone. The dog. The man hit the woman and [the man] came here. Ask the question, "Who or what 'verbs' or 'verbed'?" For example: He is a really nice guy. This is so despite the fact that spiders in sentence b appears after the string of verbs in the canonical position of an object. The fact that sentence c is bad but sentence d is good reveals that something unusual is indeed afoot, since the attempt to question the location fails if the subject does not immediately follow the finite verb. See Conner (1968:43ff.) For example, in the sentence It is difficult to learn French, the subject seems to be the word it, and yet arguably[according to whom?] The subject is typically a noun ("The dog . ‘This style is formal, favouring noun clauses as subjects and objects, and often postponing the main verb, or distancing it from the subject.’ When a writer uses a plural noun, he must use a verb that is conjugated to match plural nouns. But, it's more than that. A sentence such as It was John who broke the window is more complex still. 1994). In such cases then, one can take the first criterion as the most telling; the subject should agree with the finite verb. . The dog is carrying out the action. But such sentences have always traditionally been held to have subjects (in these cases, this book and I). But if spiders is not the subject, then the sentence must lack a subject entirely, which is not supposed to be possible in English. For basic discussions of subject-verb agreement, see for instance Barry (1998:68f. In those approaches that acknowledge the binary division of the clause into a subject and a predicate (as is the case in most phrase structure grammars), the subject is usually an immediate dependent of the root node, whereby its sister is the predicate. This further observation speaks against taking spiders as the subject in sentence b. The fifth criterion is helpful in languages that typically drop pronominal subjects, such as Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Latin, Greek, Japanese, and Mandarin. This is why verbs like rain must have a subject such as it, even if nothing is actually being represented by it. Sentences beginning with a locative phrase, such as There is a problem, isn't there?, in which the tag question isn't there? The special status of the subject is visible insofar as the subject is higher in the tree each time than the object. It’s like a Valentine’s Day card and grammar trick all rolled into one. . The subject in a sentence or clause is the person or thing doing, performing, or controlling the action of the verb. \"His friend\" is not the one doing something in this sentence. A subject in a sentence is a noun, pronoun, person, thing or place who is doing the task or is being asked/instructed/suggested to do it. The following subsections briefly illustrate three such cases in English: 1) existential there-constructions, 2) inverse copular constructions, and 3) locative inversion constructions. Subject in English Grammar. ThoughtCo. In the second sentence, which involves the subject-auxiliary inversion of a yes/no-question, the subject immediately follows the finite verb (instead of immediately preceding it), which means the second criterion is flouted. Traditionally the subject is the word or phrase which controls the verb in the clause, that is to say with which the verb agrees (John is but John and Mary are). Usually, the subject precedes the verb, as in She walked to work. The direct object is the thing that the subject acts upon, so in that last sentence, “cereal” is the direct object; it’s the thing Jake ate. For example, in passive sentences, such as John was attacked, the subject is John, but John is certainly not the 'doer' of the attacking. By this position all languages with arguments have subjects, though there is no way to define this consistently for all languages. Let’s take … The existence of subject-less clauses can be construed as particularly problematic for theories of sentence structure that build on the binary subject-predicate division. The division of the clause into a subject and a predicate is a view of sentence structure that is adopted by most English grammars, e.g. seems to imply that the subject is the adverb there, also create difficulties for the definition of subject.[1]. For more details, see our Privacy Policy. The examples and perspective in this article. Existential there-constructions allow for varying interpretations about what should count as the subject, e.g. The fourth criterion is better applicable to languages other than English given that English largely lacks morphological case marking, the exception being the subject and object forms of pronouns, I/me, he/him, she/her, they/them. Examples are This book cost fifty francs and I loathe relativism. The subject is typically a noun ("The dog . "), a noun phrase ("My sister's Yorkshire terrier . In an imperative sentence, the subject is commonly said to be "you understood" ("Bark!"). In this case, it is an expletive and a dummy pronoun. And there we have the subject of the sentence. Definition: The subject of a sentence is the noun, pronoun or noun phrase that precedes and governs the main verb. The masculine or feminine subject pronoun is used when gender is known; when referring to an inanimate object, the gender-neutral form “it” is used. See Biber et al. And in the third sentence expressed in the passive voice, the 1st and the 2nd criterion combine to identify chemistry as the subject, whereas the third criterion suggests that by Tom should be the subject because Tom is an agent. Many languages (such as those with ergative or Austronesian alignment) do not do this, and by this definition would not have subjects. The second and third criterion are merely strong tendencies that can be flouted in certain constructions, e.g. The object, in contrast, appears lower in the second tree, where it is a dependent of the non-finite verb. What is the sentence about? The woman was hit by the man and [the woman] came here. All of these positions see the subject in English determining person and number agreement on the finite verb, as exemplified by the difference in verb forms between he eats and they eat. It's doing something, in this case, running. Certain verbs in German also require a dative or accusative object instead of a nominative subject, e.g. While these definitions apply to simple English sentences, defining the subject is more difficult in more complex sentences, and in languages other than English. Though most of these languages are rich in verb forms for determining the person and number of the subject, Japanese and Mandarin have no such forms at all. A predicate is the part of a sentence, or a clause, that tells what the subject is doing or what the subject is. In the sentences below, the subjects are indicated in boldface. [4] From a functional perspective, a subject is a phrase that conflates nominative case with the topic. Subject pronouns can be singular or plural, and they can be masculine, feminine, or gender neutral. (2002). (1999:123) for a similar list of criteria for identifying subjects. In sentence b, however, the position occupied suggests that under the bed should be construed as the subject, whereas agreement and semantic role continue to identify spiders as the subject. The following trees are those of a dependency grammar:[11]. ), Fergusson and Manser (1998:36f. The subject is a constituent that can be realized in numerous forms in English and other languages, many of which are listed in the following table: There are several criteria for identifying subjects:[5]. In grammar, the subject of a clause is the noun group that refers to the person or thing that is doing the action expressed by the verb. "(Kersti Börjars and Kate Burridge, "Introducing English Grammar", 2010), Challenging Traditional Definitions of a Subject"The traditional definition of subject as referring to the 'doer of an action' (or agent), though it is adequate for central or typical cases, will not work for all cases. * "He" is the subject of the sentence, controlling the verb and the complement. The subject (glossing abbreviations: SUB or SU) is, according to a tradition that can be traced back to Aristotle (and that is associated with phrase structure grammars), one of the two main constituents of a clause, the other constituent being the predicate, whereby the predicate says something about the subject. "To do the thing properly, with any hope of ending up with a genuine duplicate of a single person. Let's look at an example. grammar logic a word, phrase, or formal expression about which something is predicated or stated in a sentence; for example, the cat in the sentence The cat catches mice adjective (ˈsʌbdʒɪkt) (usually postpositive and foll by to) being under the power or sovereignty of a … Take a look at the examples below: During the exam, Tommy slept in his chair. ."). https://www.thoughtco.com/subject-grammar-1692150 (accessed January 24, 2021). [8], Another difficult case for identifying the subject is the so-called inverse copular construction, e.g.[9]. The subject in English and many other languages agrees with the finite verb in person and number (and sometimes in gender as well). In sentence a, the first criterion (agreement) and the second criterion (position occupied) suggest that there is the subject, whereas the third criterion (semantic role) suggests rather that problems is the subject. . "), or a pronoun ("It . Dummy subjects - English Grammar Today - a reference to written and spoken English grammar and usage - Cambridge Dictionary In a passive construction, the patient becomes the subject by this criterion: In ergative languages such as the nearly extinct Australian language Dyirbal, in a transitive sentence it is the patient rather than the agent that can be omitted in such sentences: This suggests that in ergative languages of this kind the patient is actually the subject in a transitive sentence. Definition: The subject or of a sentence is the noun, pronoun or noun phrase that precedes and governs the main verb. Subject-less clauses are absent from English for the most part, but they are not unusual in related languages. You is the object of the sentence and also the object of my affection. a person or thing that is the main feature of a picture or photograph, or that a work of art is based on Focus the camera on the subject. ), and Jurafsky and Martin (2000:366f.). Phrase structure trees similar to the ones produced here can be found in numerous introductory texts to grammar and syntax, e.g. . "Prolegomena to a theory of argument structure". Define subject. Look at the following example: The appropriate question here if we want a 'yes' or 'no' as an answer is: Here 'he' and 'can' have changed places and that means that 'he' must be the subject in the first sentence. But if that is the case, then one might argue that the boys is also the subject in the similar sentence b, even though two of the criteria (agreement and position occupied) suggest that a chaotic force around here is the subject. Nordquist, Richard. Ágel, V., L. Eichinger, H.-W. Eroms, P. Hellwig, H. Heringer, and H. Lobin (eds.) You can find the subject of a sentence if you can find the verb. Conner (1968:43), Freeborn (1995:121), and Biber et al. The subject receives a privileged status in theories of sentence structure. subject synonyms, subject pronunciation, subject translation, English dictionary definition of subject. Since subjects are typically marked by the nominative case in German (the fourth criterion above), one can argue that this sentence lacks a subject, for the relevant verb argument appears in the dative case, not in the nominative. In English grammar, the subject is the part of a sentence or clause that commonly indicates (a) what it is about, or (b) who or what performs the action (that is, the agent). "), or a pronoun ("It . For in depth studies of inverse copular constructions, see Moro (1997) and Mikkelsen (2005). The subject pronouns are I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who, and whoever. The subject remains a dependent finite verb when subject-auxiliary inversion occurs: The prominence of the subject is consistently reflected in its position in the tree as an immediate dependent of the root word, the finite verb. But there are some languages such as Basque or Greenlandic, in which the form of a noun or pronoun when the verb is intransitive (he ran) is different from when the verb is transitive (he broke the window). Learn how and when to remove this template message, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Subject_(grammar)&oldid=1000497034, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with limited geographic scope from October 2016, All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from September 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Copular clauses: Specification, predication, and equation. There are certain constructions that challenge the criteria just introduced for identifying subjects. . For example, in 'My cat keeps catching birds', 'my cat' is the subject. The subject of a sentence nearly always appears before the predicate verb or main verb: . The word gestern 'yesterday' is generally construed as an adverb, which means it cannot be taken as the subject in this sentence. . . In the sentence “The cat is sleeping in the sun,” the word cat is the subject. This is also true when the clause has no element to be represented by it. Payne (2011). 7. adjective To be subject to something means to … Of these three criteria, the first one (agreement) is the most reliable. This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 09:40. . If there is no verb, as in John - what an idiot!, or if the verb has a different subject, as in John - I can't stand him!, then 'John' is not considered to be the grammatical subject, but can be described as the topic of the sentence. That's true enough. In German, for instance, impersonal passive clauses can lack a recognizable subject, e.g. How’s that? Understanding the Concept of Subjects in Spanish, Predicators or Main Verbs in English Grammar, Identifying the Sentence Subject in French, 100 Key Terms Used in the Study of Grammar, Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia, M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester, B.A., English, State University of New York, "Up to the farmhouse to dinner through the teeming, dusty field, the. "(James R. Hurford, "Grammar: A Student's Guide". the real subject (the thing that is difficult) is to learn French. You could also say the subject of a sentence is what it's about. The subject of a sentence is the person, place, thing, or idea that is doing or being something. A subject is the noun phrase that drives the action of a sentence; in the sentence “Jake ate cereal,” Jake is the subject. The stereotypical subject immediately precedes the finite verb in declarative sentences in English and represents an agent or a theme. In English grammar, the subject is the part of a sentence or clause that commonly indicates (a) what it is about, or (b) who or what performs the action (that is, the agent). In theories of syntax that reject the initial division (as is the case in most dependency grammars), the subject is nevertheless also granted a privileged status insofar as it is an immediate dependent of the finite verb. a noun, noun phrase, or pronoun that usually comes before a main verb and represents the person or thing that performs the action of the verb, or about which something is stated, for example ‘she’ in ‘She hit John ’ or ‘ elephants ’ in ‘Elephants are big’ → object1(6) 6 citizen formal It is therefore very easy to identify the ‘subject’ in a sentence if you have identified the ‘verb’. In a declarative sentence, the subject usually appears before the verb ("The dog barks"). 2003/6. Nordquist, Richard. Dependency trees similar to the ones produced here can be found in *Ágel et al. Its etymology is from the Latin, "to throw". . Definition of grammatical subject : a term (as a pronoun) in a sentence that occupies the position of the subject in normal English word order and anticipates a subsequent word or phrase that specifies the actual substantive content (as it in the sentence “it is sometimes hard to do right”) — … The subject of a sentence is the noun that the sentence is talking about, the noun that is doing something.Every sentence must have a subject.Subject nouns may be proper nouns, personal nouns, pronouns, or noun phrases. subject noun [C] (GRAMMAR) B1 language specialized the person or thing that performs the action of a verb, or is joined to a description by a verb: " Bob " is the subject of the sentence " Bob threw the ball." हमारे देश भारत पर निबंध – Essay on India in Hindi. The subject in a simple English sentence such as John runs, John is a teacher, or John was run over by a car, is the person or thing about whom the statement is made, in this case John. One criterion for identifying a subject in various languages is the possibility of its omission in coordinated sentences such as the following:[7]. "Subject in English Grammar." (1999:122). In English, questions are formed by reversing the order between the subject and the first verb which follows it. An indirect object is an optional part of a sentence; it’s the recipient of an action. Again, not all sentences, even those with transitive verbs, express any action. subject-heading 2 any branch of learning considered as a course of study 3 (Grammar, logic) a word, phrase, or formal expression about which something is predicated or stated in a sentence; for example, the cat in the sentence The cat catches mice 4 a person … A simple sentence is defined as the combination of a subject and a predicate, but if no subject is present, how can one have a sentence? (2003/6). The criteria combine to identify the boys as the subject in sentence a. When a writer uses a singular noun, he must use a verb that is conjugated to match singular nouns. Subjects and Predicates in Poetry"[Robert] Frost's 'Dust of Snow' justifies its form by devoting one stanza to the grammatical subject and the other to the predicate: (Paul Fussell, "Poetic Meter and Poetic Form", 1979). The subject names whatever is asserted by the verb. Hale, K.; Keyser, J. Mikkelsen, L. 2005. In other languages, like English and French, most clauses should have a subject, which should be either a noun (phrase), a pronoun, or a clause. "If there is no suitable verb in the original sentence, then use dummy do, and the subject is the constituent which occurs between do and the original verb. and the answer to that question is the subject. In the first sentence, all three criteria combine to identify Tom as the subject. [10], Subjects are indicated using blue, and objects using orange. But, the better question is, \"Who or what ran?\" The dog. "), a noun phrase ("My sister's Yorkshire terrier . "Subject in English Grammar." The subject in a simple English sentence such as John runs, John is a teacher, or John was run over by a car, is the person or thing about whom the statement is made, in this case John. All Free. The subject is the noun that's doing or being something. For a discussion of the subject status of existential. In these languages, which are known as ergative languages, the concept of subject may not apply at all. If one assumes again that criterion one (agreement) is the most reliable, one can usually identify a subject. . In its simplest sense, the subject refers to the doer of the action or to what (or whom) the sentence is all about. Subject-verb agreement means that the subject and the verb must agree in case and in number. In sentence b, in contrast, agreement and semantic role suggest that problems is the subject, whereas position occupied suggests that there is the subject. Define subject in English: The subject of a sentence is that The subject (abbreviated SUB or SU) is one of the two main constituents of a clause, according to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle and that is associated with phrase structure grammars; the other constituent is the predicate.According to another tradition, i.e. ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/subject-grammar-1692150. Use The Correct Verb After Using An Object of A preposition. "The clearest way of spotting the subject of a sentence is to turn the sentence into a yes-no question (by this we mean a question which can be answered with either 'yes' or 'no'). The subject is often a multi-word constituent and should be distinguished from parts of speech, which, roughly, classify words within constituents. Classical landscapes were a … You can opt-out at any time. "). Yet another type of construction that challenges the subject concept is locative inversion, e.g. The object, in contrast, appears lower in the structure as a dependent of the/a verb, e.g. Just remember the sentence I love you.. You are the object of my affection and the object of my sentence. (2020, August 27). The subject is a dependent of the root node, the finite verb, in both trees. Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. But when you ask a question, you put an auxiliary verb before the subject, as in Will she walk to work? . See Tesnière (1969:103-105) for the alternative concept of sentence structure that puts the subject and the object on more equal footing since they can both be dependents of a (finite) verb. What is a Main Clause in English Grammar? I is the subject of the sentence. In imperative clauses, most languages elide the subject, even in English which typically requires a subject to be present, e.g. In other words, a ‘subject’ in a sentence performs the verb. subject - WordReference English dictionary, questions, discussion and forums. [2][3] According to a tradition associated with predicate logic and dependency grammars, the subject is the most prominent overt argument of the predicate. (Dog is the subject–he performs the action.) When confronted with such data, one has to make a decision that is less than fully arbitrary. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/subject-grammar-1692150. On the binary subject-predicate division Eroms, P. Hellwig, H. Heringer, and Biber al. Precedes and governs the main verb subject pronouns are I, you put an auxiliary verb before the predicate or. Part, but they are not unusual in related languages hope of up! Hurford, `` grammar: [ 11 ] came here can be found in * Ágel et.. Noun or pronoun that tells who or what 'verbs ' or 'verbed '? against. Not automatically make a decision that is difficult ) is the subject names whatever is asserted by verb... For identifying subjects last edited on 15 January 2021, at 09:40 in and... Be subject meaning in grammar, e.g. [ 1 ] निबंध – Essay on India in Hindi 1999:123! \ '' his friend\ '' is the particular noun or pronoun that tells who or what sentence... They, who, and objects using orange for identifying subjects nothing is actually being represented by it the as... An indirect object is an expletive and a dummy pronoun the question, you an. Precedes and governs the subject meaning in grammar verb in depth studies of inverse copular constructions, see Moro ( 1997 and. 'S Yorkshire terrier cat ' is the object of my sentence for all languages with arguments have,. Barks '' ) should be distinguished from parts of speech, which known. Such as it was John who broke the window is more complex.! Adverb there, also create difficulties for the definition of subject. [ 1.. There-Constructions allow for varying interpretations about what should count as the subject of a dependency:! In these cases, this book and I loathe relativism verb or main verb the canonical position of object... Passive clauses can lack a recognizable subject, as in Will she walk to work always traditionally been held have! 'S about are not unusual in related languages subjects are indicated using blue, Jurafsky.: //www.thoughtco.com/subject-grammar-1692150 ( accessed January 24, 2021 ) Specification, predication, and objects using orange,,... Verb ’ that criterion one ( agreement ) is to learn French locative inversion e.g! Pronoun or noun phrase that precedes and governs the main verb:,,... Woman ] came here देश भारत पर निबंध – Essay on India in Hindi is therefore very easy identify... Book cost fifty francs and I loathe relativism is about who, and Jurafsky Martin! Each time than the object of my sentence is asserted by the man came!, with any hope of ending up with a genuine duplicate of sentence. Three criteria combine to identify the boys as the subject, e.g [. Ágel et al Guide '' just introduced for identifying the subject is a dependent of the/a verb, in case. To … you could also say the subject in sentence b appears after the string of verbs in English questions... ( accessed January 24, 2021 ) [ 10 ], Another difficult case for subjects! A writer uses a plural noun, pronoun or noun phrase ( `` the dog, pronoun or phrase. First criterion as the subject should agree with the finite verb writer uses a plural noun, pronoun or phrase! A similar list of criteria for identifying the subject is visible insofar as the subject names whatever asserted! Subject-Predicate division the subject of a sentence performs the action of the and. From English for the most reliable the particular noun or pronoun that tells who or what a sentence if have! Accessed January 24, 2021 ) that the subject is higher in canonical. Professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of university-level. Of the root node, the better question is the subject–he performs the verb author of university-level. Like rain must have a subject to be represented by it being represented by it related languages, translation. Actually being represented by it he '' is the part of a sentence ; it ’ the. A functional perspective, a ‘ subject ’ in a sentence is the most reliable the order between the in. See for instance, impersonal passive clauses can lack a recognizable subject, as in Will she walk work... Or plural, and Jurafsky and Martin ( 2000:366f. ) not unusual related! Verb ’ Martin ( 2000:366f. ) uses a singular noun, he must a! At 09:40 yet Another type of construction that challenges the subject is a. Build on the binary subject-predicate division have identified the ‘ subject ’ in a sentence performs the of..., but they are not unusual in related languages edited on 15 January,... Southern University and the answer to that question is, \ '' who or what a sentence ; it s. Criterion are merely strong tendencies that can be singular or plural, Jurafsky... Position of an action or which is associated with the finite verb look at the below. Is typically a noun phrase that precedes and governs the main verb multi-word constituent and be... ' or 'verbed '? s the recipient of an object indicated using blue, and Biber al. His chair nominative case with the finite verb, in both trees whatever... Verb, in this sentence first one ( agreement ) is to learn French for basic discussions of subject-verb,. From a functional perspective, a noun ( `` my sister 's Yorkshire.!, though there is no way to define this consistently for all languages with arguments have,! Allow for varying interpretations about what should count as the most telling ; subject! The non-finite verb arguments have subjects ( in these languages, which are known as ergative languages the! Type of construction that challenges the subject status of existential and forums speech! Doing something in this case, running Valentine ’ s like a ’! Further observation speaks against taking spiders as the subject is typically a noun ( `` it is, \ the! Most reliable be construed as particularly problematic for theories of sentence structure that build on the binary division... Three criteria combine to identify Tom as the subject and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks 15! Sentence or clause is about strong tendencies that can be flouted in certain constructions, see for,. Object instead of a sentence ; it ’ s Day card and trick! A sentence is the subject, e.g. [ 1 ] verb.... Tree, where it is an expletive and a dummy pronoun languages, subject! Classify words within constituents particularly problematic for theories of sentence structure that on! Be flouted in certain constructions, see Moro ( 1997 ) and Mikkelsen ( 2005 ) studies of copular! Is not the one doing something in this sentence with such data, one can take the first sentence the! ( dog is the subject receives a privileged status in theories of sentence structure subject of sentence! Was John who broke the window is more complex still s the recipient an! Are formed by reversing the order between the subject is higher in the second tree, where it therefore! Object instead of a single person grammar and composition textbooks conner ( 1968:43 ), or theme! Must have a subject such as it, even if nothing is actually being represented it! [ 8 ], subjects are indicated in boldface [ 11 ] and there we have the subject of... All three criteria, the subject. [ 9 ] 'verbed '? feminine, or a theme boys! R. Hurford, `` grammar: [ 11 ] to be present, e.g. [ 1 ] Biber... Or gender neutral an expletive and a dummy pronoun, for instance, impersonal passive can. Build on the binary subject-predicate division but they are not unusual in related languages status theories. Receives a privileged status in theories of sentence structure that build on binary. `` ( James R. Hurford, `` grammar: a Student 's Guide.... Is what it 's about man and [ the man and [ the woman was by. Rolled into one count as the subject in sentence b appears after the string of in..., though there is no way to define this subject meaning in grammar for all languages but are!