Grammar Compound Predicates |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Compound Predicates

The two main components of English sentences are subjects and predicates. Together, they form clauses.

The complete subject is the main part of the sentence that contains at least one noun (or noun equivalent) and all of its modifiers.

The complete predicate contains at least one verb and its auxiliaries, modifiers, and completing words if they are present. It explains all that is being said about the singular or compound sentence subject.

If you remove the subject and its modifiers from a sentence, everything that remains is the predicate.

Examples
J.J. (complete subject) is an excellent football player (complete predicate).
The lady in red (complete subject) has the envelope (complete predicate).
Always eager to help, Miranda (complete subject) is volunteering at the food drive today (complete predicate).
Josh and Emily (complete subject) will graduate college in two more years (complete predicate).

What Is a Compound Predicate?

A compound predicate is a predicate with two or more verbs or verb phrases connected by a conjunction. It says two or more things about the same singular or compound subject.

Examples
J.J. plays football in the fall and runs track in the spring.
The lady in red has the envelope but does not yet know who will request it from her.
Always eager to help, Miranda is volunteering at the food drive today and assisting with the bake sale tomorrow.
In two more years, Josh and Emily will graduate college, take a short break, and then enroll in a master’s program.

Compound predicates can also be formed by simple predicates alone. Simple predicates are the main verbs and their auxiliaries without complements or modifiers.

Examples
J.J. trains and competes.
The lady in red observes and calculates.
Miranda volunteers and assists.
Josh and Emily study and plan.

Compound Predicates vs. Compound Sentences

Compound predicates are different from compound sentences. A compound sentence is made of two more independent clauses. The clauses each have their own subject, and they are separated by a conjunction. They are also typically separated by a comma.

Examples
J.J. plays football in the fall, and his brother plays baseball in the spring.
The lady in red observed the crowd, and the agent waited to approach her.
The food drive takes place today, and the bake sale will happen tomorrow.
Josh studies behavioral science, Emily studies Eastern languages, and they will both enroll in a master’s program shortly after graduating college.

How Compound Predicates Are Useful

Compound predicates serve crisper, more-precise writing by replacing wordy, loose, or redundant sentence constructions.

Wordy: J.J. plays football in the fall, and he runs track in the spring, and then in summer he attends athletic camps.
Better with compound predicate: J.J. plays football in the fall, runs track in the spring, and attends athletic camps in summer.

Loose: First the lady in red with the envelope entered the crowd, and then she looked around, and next she waited for the recipient to appear.
Better with compound predicate: The lady in red with the envelope entered the crowd, looked around, and waited for the recipient to appear.

Redundant: Josh will graduate college in two more years. Josh will also take a short break. Josh will enroll in a master’s program as well.
Better with compound predicate: In two more years, Josh will graduate college, take a short break, and enroll in a master’s program.

Related Topics

Predicating Our Knowledge of Predicates
Simple Predicates
Finding Nouns, Verbs, and Subjects
Dependent and Independent Clauses
Connecting Sentences with Commas and Semicolons

Pop Quiz

Applying what you’ve learned about compound predicates, identify any compound predicates that appear in the sentences below.

1. Tom and Kate want to visit the museum, but Barbara and Brian prefer the aquarium.

2. Chinedu finished the experiment and submitted his report to the review board.

3. It rained in the morning. The sun came back out in the afternoon.

4. Ethan will prepare dinner and seat the guests.

5. The accountant said that Jia Li should track her expenses and keep the receipts.

 

Pop Quiz Answers

1. Tom and Kate want to visit the museum, but Barbara and Brian prefer the aquarium.

2. Chinedu finished the experiment and submitted his report to the review board.

3. It rained in the morning. The sun came back out in the afternoon.

4. Ethan will prepare dinner and seat the guests.

5. The accountant said that Jia Li should track her expenses and keep the receipts.

If the article or the existing discussions do not address a thought or question you have on the subject, please use the "Comment" box at the bottom of this page.

4 responses to “Compound Predicates”

  1. Anne says:

    I’m wondering when, and why, it became acceptable to say or write “will graduate college” in place of “will graduate from college”, as in today’s newsletter’s sentence that reads, “In two more years, Josh and Emily will graduate college, take a short break, and then enroll in a master’s program.” To me it makes as much sense as saying “enroll a master’s program” instead of “enroll in a master’s program.”

    • GrammarBook.com says:

      We are not sure how long this has been considered standard usage; however, Merriam-Webster does acknowledge graduate as a transitive verb with the example “…joined the navy after graduating high school.”

  2. Jerry Case says:

    I don’t think a person graduates college. A person graduates FROM college.

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