Definition and Examples

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. In other words, a ‘subject’ in a sentence performs the verb. It is therefore very easy to identify the ‘subject’ in a sentence if you have identified the ‘verb’. Subject is the one who is performing the verb or is expected, told or instructed to do so. For instance read the sentence given below-

  • My uncle is leaving for New York tomorrow.

To identify the subject in the above sentence, first identify the verb. The sentence has only one verb –‘leaving’, which is the Present Participle form of leave. Now look for the answer on who is performing the verb? That is, who is leaving for New York tomorrow?

The answer to the question is- My uncle! ‘My uncle’ is therefore the subject in the given sentence.

A subject may be a single word or a combination of several words. Different types of subjects with suitable examples are given below.

Types of Simple Subjects

A simple subject contains only one word as a subject. That is it may have a Proper Noun ( Tommy, Italy, Lilly etc), Improper Noun (dog, river, city etc) or a Personal Pronoun ( I, they, you etc) as a subject. The types of simple subjects with suitable examples are given below.

1) Proper Noun as Subject

In a sentence a subject may be a Proper Noun i.e. a single word name or a person, place, or thing. Proper Nouns are the name of an individual place or person. Consider the below sentences using a Proper Noun as a subject.

  • Tom Cruise is a good actor.
  • Mohit is writing a letter.
  • Amazon is the largest river by volume.
  • Chandigarh is a well planned city.
  • Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of America.

In all of the above sentences the Subject is a proper noun and very easy to identify- Tom Cruise, Mohit, Amazon, Chandigarh and Ronald Reagan.

2) Improper Noun as Subject

Improper Nouns may also be used as a subject in a sentence. An Improper or Common Noun is the name given to a thing, place or a class, like- city, cat, dog, etc. Below given are some examples of sentences using Improper Nouns as subjects.

  • The dog is barking loudly.
  • Elephant is a big animal.
  • Rivers overflow during monsoon.
  • The city is packed with tourists.
  • Pen is mightier than the sword.

All the above sentences have used improper nouns/common nouns as subjects- dog, elephant, river, city, and pen.

3) Personal Pronouns as Subjects

A personal pronoun is a word which can be used instead of Noun. Words like I, he, she, they, me, you, we etc are all personal pronouns. Some examples of sentences using personal pronouns as subjects are given below-

  • He is singing.
  • She is waiting for the bus.
  • I am going to market.
  • They are conducting a checkup.
  • You will take care of guests.

In the above sentences pronouns like- he, she, I, they and you are supposed to carry on the verb and are therefore the ‘Subjects’.

4) Interrogative Pronouns as Subjects

Interrogative Pronouns like who, what, which – can be used as simple subjects as shown below-

  • Who switched off the lights?
  • What is troubling you?
  • Which bus is going to Michigan?
  • Who is feeding the cat?

Complex Subjects

Unlike the simple subjects which are only single words; complex subjects are a combination of a proper/improper noun and a modifier.

Go through the below given sentences.

  • The dog who was sitting beside the road started chasing us.
  • The simplicity of Mahatma Gandhi was famous the world over.
  • The height of Mount Everest is a challenge for many adventurers.
  • The people from Indian villages are migrating to cities.
  • Indian students from good institutes are leaving their mother land.

Consider the first subject –

  • The dog who was sitting beside the road started chasing us.

First thing to do is to identify the verb; in this case the verb is – ‘chased’. Now ask yourself ‘who is performing the verb?’ i.e. ‘Who is chasing?’ Very simple – ‘The dog who was sitting beside the road’- which is the complex subject of the sentence. A complex subject always has a Noun as centre; in this case it is ‘dog’.

The ‘Complex Subject’ of remaining sentences are-

  • The simplicity of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The height of Mount Everest.
  • The people from Indian villages.
  • Indian students from good institutes.

Compound Subjects

Sometimes a sentence has more than one person or thing performing the same task; such sentences have compound subjects as given below-

  • Rahul and Punit are going to college.
  • Kanpur and Allahabad are listed as smart cities.
  • Dogs and cats are pet animals.
  • Cars and buses are convenient modes of transport.
  • India and Nepal are jointly operating a bus service.

The above sentences have one or two nouns performing the same verb and therefore have ‘Compound Subjects’. – ‘Rahul and Punit’, ‘Kanpur and Allahabad’, Dogs and Cats’, ‘Cars and Buses’ and ‘India and Nepal’.

Exercise 1

Fill in the Blanks Exercises/Worksheets/Activities on Simple Subjects with Answers:

Complete the following sentences with appropriate subjects; also, verify your answers with those provided at the end of the exercise.

1) _________ is the capital of India.

2) _________ is the business capital of India.

3) _________ are faster modes of transport than trains.

4) __________ love watching cartoons.

5) __________ were barking.

6) ____________ is celebrated on 26th day of January every year.

7) My __________ is just a walk away from my house.

8) ________ did not listen to the lecture attentively.

9) _________ took the keys?

10) Whose __________ are these?

11) _________ are faster than calculators.

12) _________ is better than cure.

13) His __________ gave him good marks in the examination.

14) ___________ a day keeps the doctor away.

15) The __________ was examining his patients.

Answers- 1)Delhi, 2)Mumbai, 3)Planes, 4)children, 5)Dogs, 6)Republic Day, 7)school/office, 8) they/we/he/she/Rohit etc, 9)Who, 10)pens/books etc, 11)computers, 12)Prevention, 13)teacher, 14)an apple, 15) doctor.

MCQ Exercises/Worksheets/Activities on Simple Subjects with Answers:

In the below given sentences choose the correct ‘Subject’ from the choices given; also, verify your answers from those given at the end of the exercise:

1) __________ is eating burger.

  1. a) is
  2. b) burger
  3. c) Tommy

2) ________ is singing beautifully.

  1. a) She
  2. b) singing
  3. c) beautifully

3) __________ are leaving tomorrow.

  1. a) tomorrow
  2. b) they
  3. c) leaving

4) ___________ is running on terrace?

  1. a) Who
  2. b) running
  3. c) terrace

5) _________ are travelling to Calcutta yesterday.

  1. a) travelling
  2. b) we
  3. c) Calcutta

6) ___________ are a mode of transport through the oceans.

  1. a) transport
  2. b) ships
  3. c) oceans

7) _____________ is sitting on the chair and writing a letter.

  1. a) sitting
  2. b) chair
  3. c) he

8) My _________ is parked in the house on the pavement.

  1. a) car
  2. b) house
  3. c) pavement

9) ___________ is eating dinner with his father.

  1. a) dinner
  2. b) father
  3. c) Rohit

10) ____________ has more village population than Madhya Pradesh.

  1. a) village
  2. b) Uttar Pradesh
  3. c) Madhya Pradesh

11) ____________ can travel longer than small planes.

  1. a) Large planes
  2. b) travel
  3. c) small planes

12) _____________ are bigger mammals than elephants.

  1. a) elephants
  2. b) mammals
  3. c) whales

13) _____________ has longest National Highways than any other state.

  1. a) National Highway
  2. b) Uttar Pradesh
  3. c) Other state

14) ______________ was the first calculating machine developed by a man.

  1. a) calculating machine
  2. b) man
  3. c) abacus

15) My ___________ is the grandfather of my son.

  1. a) father
  2. b) son
  3. c) grandfather

Answers- 1)c, 2)a, 3)b, 4)a, 5)b, 6)b, 7)c, 8)a, 9)c, 10)b, 11)a, 12)c, 13)b, 14)c, 15)a

Exercise 2

Fill in the Blanks Exercises/Worksheets/Activities on complex Subjects with Answers:

Add suitable words to the below sentences so that they make a complete meaningful sentences having ‘Complex Subjects’; also cross check your answers with those provided at the end of the exercise; the answers also have ‘main noun’ and ‘complex subject’ of individual sentences.

Note- After completing the sentences try to identify the ‘main noun ‘and ‘complex subjects’.

1) The _________ who prescribed the __________ was an alumna of AIIMS.

2) The __________ who was sitting on the bench was eating a burger.

3) _________ which is a foreign make; gives good mileage.

4) The ____________ who taught ___________ was facilitated by the management.

5) The _________ with longer ___________ are more on the target of poachers.

6) ________ with lighter weight; float faster.

7) _________ who scores ________ in exams will be rewarded.

8) The ________ who talks less; thinks more.

9) The apple you ________ me was rotten.

10) The _______ which he was _________; ran out of fuel.

11) A ___________ car is parked beside my house.

12) The woman who was _________ for the bus, booked a cab to go home.

13) __________ who live in villages are more stress free than those living in cities.

14) The man __________ thinks quick, progresses faster.

15) The __________ which were sold in the afternoon; were meant for the evening show.

Answers- 1)doctor, medicine, 2)man/boy etc, 3)My car, 4)teacher, well, 5)elephants, tusks, 6)ships, 7)student, good, 8) person, 9) gave, 10)car, driving 11) black/red, 12) waiting, 13) people, 14) who, 15)tickets

Below given are the ‘Complex Subjects’ for the above example sentences-

1) ‘The doctor who prescribed the medicine’.

2) ‘The man who was sitting on the bench’.

3) ‘My car which is a foreign make’.

4) ‘The teacher who taught well’.

5) ‘The elephants with longer tusks’.

6) ‘Ships with lighter weight’.

7) ‘Student who scores well.’

8) ‘The person who talks less’.

9) ‘The apple you gave me’.

10) ‘The car which he was driving’.

11) ‘A black car’.

12) ‘The woman who was waiting for the bus’.

13) ‘People who live in villages’.

14) ‘The man who thinks quick’.

15) ‘The tickets those were sold in the afternoon’.

More Exercises/Worksheets/Activities on Complex Subjects with Answers:

Identify the ‘main noun- subject’ and the ‘complex subjects in the sentences given below-

1) A car with yellow paint speeded past our bike.

2) A small bird with yellow beak was perched on my terrace.

3) Those who have their ID will be allowed to sit.

4) The man wearing a black hat is her grandfather.

5) Cats with blue eyes are rare to find.

6) Men with arms were guarding the building.

7) Women with small children were going to the school.

8) Soldiers who went on leave were called back in emergency.

9) Children who behave well; are loved by everyone.

10) Birds with long feathers can glide easily.

11) Workers with hands on experience are preferred by the employers.

12) Localities with scarce amenities should be developed first.

13) Employees who are honest; are worth retaining and encouraging.

14) The dog standing at the gate, started chasing us.

15) Birds of a feather flock together.

Answers to the above exercise are given in the form of – (main subject/complex subject)

1) Car/ ‘A car with yellow paint’.

2) Bird/ ‘A small bird with yellow beak’.

3) Those/ ‘Those who have their ID’.

4) Man/ ‘The man wearing a black hat’.

5) Cats/’ Cats with blue eyes’.

6) Men/ ‘Men with arms’.

7) Women/ ‘Women with small children’.

8) Soldiers/ ‘Soldiers who went on leave’.

9) Children/ ‘Children who behave well’.

10) Birds/ ‘Birds with long feathers’.

11) Workers/ ‘Workers with hands on experience’.

12) Localities/ ‘Localities with scarce amenities’.

13) Employees/ ‘Employees who are honest’.

14) Dog/’ The dog standing at the gate’.

15) Birds/ ‘Birds of a feather’.

Exercise 3

Fill in the Blanks Exercises/Worksheet/Activities on Compound Subjects with Answers:

Complete the following compound sentences by using appropriate words (nouns) or coordinating conjunctions (and, or, neither, or, nor etc). Cross check your answers with those provided at the end of the exercise.

Note- Assumptions may be made wherever necessary.

1) Haryana ______ Himachal Pradesh are two states in western India.

2) Either Rohit _______ Sahil will be selected for the tournament.

3) The dogs ________ the cats are pet animals.

4) The old books _______ the old clothes have to be discarded.

5) We have decided to resale either the car ________ the bike.

6) Neither the car ________ the bike is in running condition.

7) Ram and his mother _________ going to the grocery stores.

8) Desktops _______ laptops ________ two advanced forms of computers.

9) Me_________ my neighbor clean the society every weekend.

10) ________ Ronit nor Roy are going to the party.

11) _________ Ronit or Roy is going to the party.

12) ______and cattle were the first to be domesticated by men.

13) Me ______ my brother can’t live without playing.

14) The ________ and the trouser should be ironed well.

15) Education ________ skill is the keys to success.

Answers- 1)and, 2)or, 3)and, 4)and, 5)or, 6)nor, 7)are, 8)and,are, 9)and, 10)neither, 11)either, 12)dogs, 13)and, 14)shirt, 15)and

The subjects in the above examples are-

1) ‘Haryana’ and ‘Himachal Pradesh’.

2) ‘Rohit’ and ‘Sahil’.

3) ‘Dogs’ and ‘Cats’.

4) ‘Books’ and ‘Clothes’.

5) ‘Car’ and ‘Bike’.

6) ‘Car’ and ‘Bike’.

7) ‘Ram’ and ‘his mother’.

8) ‘Desktops’ and ‘Laptops’.

9) ‘My neighbor’ and ‘me’.

10) ‘Ronit’ and ‘Roy’.

11) ‘Ronit’ and ‘Roy’.

12) ‘Dogs’ and ‘Cattle’.

13) ‘Me’ and ‘My brother’.

14) ‘Shirt’ and ‘Trouser’.

15) ‘Education’ and ‘skill’.

More Exercises/Worksheets/Examples on Compound Subjects with Answers:

Identify the compound subjects in the following sentences-

1) Dogs and cats are domestic animals.

2) Cars and bikes are different modes of transport.

3) Sam, Peter and Julie are going for the movie.

4) Tea and coffee are bad for health.

5) Me, my brother and my cousin Sam love cricket.

6) The pastry was delicious than the cupcake.

7) Neither you nor your friends are going on the trip.

8) Either he or his parents have to pay for the loss.

9) Neither Sam nor Lilly are going to get the medal this year.

10) Either the car or the bike has to be painted yellow.

11) You and your dog get quite noisy sometimes.

12) My phone and my laptop are always kept beside me.

13) His cousin and his parents are coming to see him.

14) Ram and Ronny are playing cricket since afternoon.

15) She and her mother are excellent cooks.


1) ‘Dogs’ and ‘Cats’.

2) ‘Cars’ and ‘Bikes’.

3) ‘Sam’, ‘Peter’ and ‘Julie’.

4) ‘Tea’ and ‘Coffee’.

5) ‘Me’, ‘Brother’ and ‘Sam’.

6) ‘Pastry’ and ‘Cupcake’.

7) ‘You’ and ‘Your friends’.

8) ‘He’ and ‘His parents’.

9) ‘Sam’ and ‘Lilly’.

10) ‘Car’ and ‘Bike’.

11) ‘You’ and ‘your dog’.

12) ‘My phone’ and ‘My laptop’.

13) ‘His cousin’ and ‘His parents’.

14) ‘Ram’ and ‘Ronny’.

15) ‘She’ and ‘her mother’.

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