Predicate Nouns

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What Is a Predicate Noun?

A Predicate Noun, or Predicate Nominative, is a noun or noun phrase that comes after a linking verb. It often gives more information about the subject of the sentence, identifying or describing a state-of-being or just giving more specificity.

How Do I Identify One?

In general, there are three rules of thumb you can follow to find a predicate nominative.

1) It MUST follow a linking verb. Linking verbs are usually forms of the verb “to be” such as am, is, are, was, or were.

2) It gives more information about the subject of the sentence. It can modify, rename, or just give more information about the subject.

3) It names or describes a state-of-being. State-of-being can be an identity, a position, or a gerund.

Here are some examples:

Sentence Subject Linking Verb Predicate Nominative
Ms. Smith is a history buff.Ms. Smithisa history buff
These peacocks are the most popular zoo attraction.These peacocksarethe most popular zoo attraction.
Sarah used to be my babysitter.Sarahused to bemy babysitter
My bike was the best birthday present.My bikewasthe best birthday present
You can see in the chart that there are very specific rules for predicate nouns. Usually, if you can say something is equal to or IS something else, you’re working with a predicate nominative, a word or phrase that gives a more specific meaning to the noun.

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