Predicate Nominatives: Definition & Easy Ways to Remember Them

15 December 2023 / Team Fun English Course

Have you ever encountered a sentence meant to be connected that does not feel right? Perhaps it is missing a predicate nominative.

In this article, you will get an understanding of predicate nominatives, understand their meaning through examples, and distinguish them from other linguistic elements that are often mistaken as them. So, scroll through to the end.

What is Predicate Nominative?

Predicate nominative definition

Before getting into the definition of predictive nominative, let’s refresh your memory. What is a predicate?

The predicate is a part of a sentence describing the subject’s state. It typically contains information about what the subject is, does, or where it is. 

For example:

“The fluffy cat plays in the garden.”

In that example, “in the garden” is a predicate that indicates the location of the subject, which is “the fluffy cat.”

Among the various types of predicates is the predicate nominative. It portrays the subject as a new noun or noun phrase.

Simply put, consider the predicate nominative as a method to rename the subject. Here is an example:

“Shania is a yoga instructor.

In that sentence, the predicate uses a noun phrase, which is “yoga instructor,” to describe the subject, which is “Shania.”

Predicate Nominative Words: The Importance of Linking Verb

Linking verbs explanation

Another crucial aspect of understanding the predicate nominative is the linking verb, which is essential for the predicate to function. What exactly is it?

Simply put, think of a linking verb as a bridge that connects the subject and the predicate nominative without indicating an action. To understand more about this, let’s revisit the previous example:

“Shania is a yoga instructor”

In this sentence, “is” is a linking verb. It gives a new description to Shania, indicating that both “Shania” and “yoga instructor” refer to the same thing.

How many linking verbs are there? These are a few of the linking verbs:


Appears, appeared, appearing

To Be

Am, is, are, was, were, being, been


Will, would


Seems, seemed, seeming


Do, did, does


Becomes, became, becoming


Have, has, had


Remains, remained, remaining


Turns, turned, turning


Grows, grew, growing


Proves, proved, proving

Confusion Around Predicate Nominative

Predicate nominative differences

Distinguishing predicate nominatives becomes easier once you have grasped the concept of them. However, confusion may still arise regarding this kind of predicate. Let’s dive deeper into these issues:

Predicate Nominative vs Direct Object

A direct object, whether a noun or a pronoun, receives specific actions and usually comes after action verbs instead of linking verbs. Consider this example:

“Shania folded her yoga mat.

Notice the absence of a linking verb. “Folded” functions as an action verb, and “her yoga mat” serves as the direct object.

Predicative Nominative vs Subject Complement

Many people confuse these two elements, thinking they are separate elements. Yet, the predicate nominative falls under the category of subject complements. Consequently, both share the common aim of showcasing information about the subject.

Predicate Nominative and Predicate Adjective

This is another often-confused pair, as both of them serve the same purpose of describing the subject. However, despite the similarity, they do so differently.

The easiest way to distinguish them is to find the words used to describe the subject. If it is a noun, it is a predicate nominative, and if it is an adjective, it is a predicate adjective. 

For example:

“The new yoga instructor is beautiful.”

Here, the predicate adjective lies in the word “beautiful,” as it tells the quality of the subject, which is “the new yoga instructor.”

Interested in mastering the predicate nominative or exploring other linguistic elements in English? Join us at Fun English Course! Our programs are custom-designed to enhance your English proficiency through effective teaching methods, ensuring a fun and easily understandable learning experience.

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