1. Subjects & Verbs

In order to get a good score on this test, you have to start by being able to find the subjects and the verb that goes with the subject in any sentence. There will be simple sentences and complex sentences, so remember this very crucial rule: the subject CAN’T be in a prepositional phrase. It CAN’T be in a dependent clause or in an adjective clause. If you can remember that, then you will never try to put the subject where it doesn’t belong.

Simple sentence: The car is parked in the parking lot. Subject: car Verb: is parked

More complex: The car in the parking lot is yours. Subject: car Verb: is
“in the parking lot” is a prepositional phrase that tells you where the subject is. It’s extra information, and you can take it out and STILL HAVE a complete sentence. That’s how you know the subject can’t be in it – a sentence needs a subject, so you can’t take it out. You can take out a prepositional phrase. Look: The car is yours. No propositional phrase, still a complete sentence.

More complex: The car that has a bad paint job is parked by the curb. Subject: car Verb: is parked
“that has a bad paint job” is an adjective clause that tells you more information about the subject. It’s extra information, so the subject can’t be in it. You can take it out and still have a complete sentence. Look: The car is parked by the curb.

More complex: If you need it, my car is parked by the curb. Subject: car Verb: is parked
“If you need it” is a dependent clause that tells you more about the subject, but again – it’s extra information and can be removed from the sentence so IT CAN’T HAVE THE SUBJECT IN IT. You can’t take the subject out of the sentence and still have a sentence. Look: My car is parked by the curb.

Really complex: Although my car is parked by the curb, you may have some trouble driving it because the key that starts the engine is really sticky. Subject: you Verb: may have
First, eliminate all of the prepositional phrases (“by the curb”). Now you have: Although my car is parked, you may have some trouble driving it because the key that starts the engine is really sticky.
Next, eliminate all of the adjective clauses (“that starts the engine”). Now you have: Although my car is parked, you may have some trouble driving it because the key is really sticky.
Now, eliminate all of the dependent clauses (“Although my car is parked,” “because the key is really sticky”). Now you have: You may have some trouble driving it.

What is the subject? You. What is the verb? may have. That’s it.

If you aren’t sure what the subject is, take out the prepositional phrases, the dependent clauses, and the adjective clauses.

That means, though, that you have to know what those things are. So please check out the other handouts.