Subjects: Simple Subjects
When a subject is stripped of all the words that describe it, the simple subject is left.
The girls laughed.
The tough girls laughed.
The rowdy, tough girls laughed.
The rowdy, tough girls in the roller derby laughed.
The rowdy, tough girls in the roller derby on TV laughed.
In each of these sentences, the simple subject is girls. A simple subject is only one word.
Go back and look carefully at the sentences in Application 5. Notice the following words: in, of, to, about, for. These five words are prepositions (discussed in more detail in Chapter 4). The first noun or pronoun that appears after one of these words cannot be the simple subject:
The kids [in my family] love the African Stone Game.
The pattern [of the stones] is always changing.
Chapter 4 describes in more detail how modifiers expand subjects, and Chapter 12 offers more practice with sentences where groups of words come between the simple subject and the verb. Throughout the rest of this book, the word subject refers to the simple subject, the one-word subject without any describing words.