Nouns: Predicate Nominative

The predicate nominative is the noun following a linking verb that restates or stands for the subject.

Typically, a predicate nominative has the same value or grammatical weight as the subject.

[In the following examples, the predicate nominative is bold and the subject is underlined.]

  • At the end of the tournament, Tiger Woods was the leader.

The subject and the predicate nominative are essentially the same thing.

  • For many of us on the team, the fans were an embarrassment.

EMBARRASSMENT restates the subject FANS.

  • When the plot is discovered, Andrea will be a suspect.

Look for the subject, decide whether the verb indicates a state of being and find out what “state” the subject is in.

  • Before the announcement, they were the favorites to win the contest.

Once you identify the verb, ask whether the verb was done to someone or something. For example: Did THEY do something? No, they just were. What they WERE is FAVORITES, making FAVORITES the predicate nominative.

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Predicate nominatives may follow linking verbs that are not the verb TO BE.

[In the following examples, the predicate nominative is bold and the subject is underlined.]

  • During the heat wave, dehydration became a threat for active citizens.

Nothing really happened here. The subject DEHYDRATION is something A THREAT.

  • Serena’s brother remains the leader in sales for this region.

To determine whether the subject is being linked to the predicate nominative, replace the verb with the correct form of the verb TO BE. If it works, the verb is linking and if the word it links to the subject is a noun, it is the predicate nominative.

  • The assistant’s attitude seems a mystery to everyone involved.

Nothing happened. The subject ATTITUDE is A MYSTERY.

What is missing?

Anything you don’t understand? Need more examples? Use the comment section to tell us what would help you.

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  1. nhene says

    what will be the use of the pronoun in the nominative case
    in the predicate nominative?

    I’m just confuse…

  2. Niku says

    I think you’ve left out the only area that could ever cause confusion: pronouns. No one could ever make a mistake with the examples you have given, but whether to use “I” or “me,” “he” or “him, “she” or “her, etc.” is always a problem. Fortunately for my piece of mind, I decided years ago to use the construction that wouldn’t cause people to think of me as a pedant. In other words I choose to use the one that sounds right rather than the grammatically correct but jarring to the ear constructions. I will never say, “This is he,” “It is I,” etc. I much prefer “That’s me,” or “It’s me”. However, I still think you should know the rules before breaking them. If you break them without knowing that you have, you’re an ignoramus, but if you willfully break them with the full knowledge of your “offense,” you’re just a rebel. Rebels aren’t as romantic as they once were, but they’re still to be preferred to either ignoramuses or pedants.

  3. says

    Not sure you can say “always” about anything in English. Let’s just say, “most of the time.” Typically a predicate nominative before a subject ends up sounding like Yoda. “Jedi is Luke.”

  4. Laura says

    Hi! Is there any list for predicate nominitives? I have a test and I really need an answer Fast! I will appreciate an answer as soon as possible!

  5. Kendall says

    In the sentence after his speech the candidate answered questions from the media, would questions be a predicate nominative?

  6. Amanda says

    Hello. I appreciate your post.

    Could you please help me with the following two sentences?
    1) “Who is the architect I want to be?”
    Is “who” correct (vs whom) because the object is a predicate nominative referring to the subject?

    2) “It is my responsibility to make explicit the relationship between what students are doing and who they are becoming.”
    Is this the same as the first sentence, with “who” correct–or is whom correct here?

    Thank you very much!

  7. anastacia says

    i am a student at Parkview high school an i am a freshman i do not know what people are think when they don’t give a good compliment but this is some good information on grammer

  8. dyzguy says

    But what about this example? The focus in the initiative is preventive services.
    Wouldn’t it be more correct to say: The focus in the initiative are preventive services
    I believe the predicate nominative determines the verb plurality, no?

  9. IHateGrammar101 says

    This sucks. I will never understand this. Who ever came up with these dumb rules for everyone is ridiculous and this is all so negligible! I could care less about this stuff

  10. says

    OMG… This Helped Alot! thanks but I Still have Questions..? When it come To Simple Subject Like she, her , Him , it ! I Mean i Always Get So Confused on Them Part!

  11. Steve says

    A comment on your example #4 is, I quote:

    “What they were FAVORITES is the predicate nominative.”

    There seems to be something wrong with this sentence. It does not make any sense.

  12. Yuki Morales says

    Im just confused can you give me an example of predicate nominative in a simple sentence

  13. Choco says

    Which word in the sentence is the predicate nominative : Chess has always been one of Henry’s favorite board games. Please explain.

  14. dyzguy says

    People always make Predicate Nominatives so hard but they aren’t. 99% of the time you only have them with the verb to be. If you don’t have a form of to be, you don’t have predicate nominatives or predicate adjectives.
    In the sentence above, “has been” (a form of “to be”) is the verb. “One” is the predicate nominative. The verb, being a form of “to be,” has no action. So think of it LINKING the subject “Chess” and “One.” Think of it like an equation with the verb being the equal sign. Chess and One are equal — they have the same weight grammatically. You could flip them around and they would have the same grammatical weight: One is chess. This is what gives rise to the accusation that PNs sound like Yoda talking: “Luke, a Jedi knight you are.” (“Luke, you are a Jedi knight.”).

    The PN takes the position of the direct object if this sentence had an action verb instead of a verb of being. Example:
    Chess provides much pleasure. Chess=subject; pleasure= direct object
    Chess has been the one. Chess=subject; one= predicate nominative.
    The positioning is the same; the only difference is the type of verb: action or being.

    If the word in the PN position is an adjective, it’s a predicate adjective. Example:
    Chess is exciting! Chess=subject is=linking verb of being exciting=adjective.

    That’s basically it. If you have an action verb, you DON’T have predicate nominatives or adjectives!

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