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What Is a Predicate Nominative?A predicate nominative (also called a predicate noun) is a word or group of words that completes a linking verb and renames the subject.
A predicate nominative is always a noun or a pronoun.
Examples of Predicate NominativesIn the examples below, the linking verbs are in bold and the predicate nominatives are shaded.
- John was a policeman.
- A dog is man's best friend. (A predicate nominative can also be a noun phrase, i.e., a noun made up of more than one word.)
- She will be the fairy. (A linking verb can consist of more than one word.)
- I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody . (Actor Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy in the 1954 film "On the Waterfront") (A linking verb can include auxiliary verbs too.)
Predicate Nominatives versus Predicate AdjectivesNot everything that follows a linking verb is a predicate nominative. Remember, a predicate nominative is a noun (or a pronoun) that renames the subject. Let's take a closer look at linking verbs. The linking verbs include the following:
- The verb to be (in its various forms, e.g., am, are, is, was, were, will be, has been, have been).
- The "sense" verbs (e.g., to feel, to look, to smell, to taste, to sound).
- The "status" verbs (e.g., to appear, to become, to continue, to grow, to seem, to turn).
- John is brilliant. (The adjective brilliant is a predicate adjective not a predicate nominative. Of note, predicate adjectives and predicate nominatives are classified as subject complements, but they are not the same.)
- It feels great. (The adjective great is a predicate adjective not a predicate nominative.)
- The sea is dangerous. (The adjective dangerous is a predicate adjective not a predicate nominative.)
- The sea is a danger. (The noun a danger is a predicate nominative.)
What Is a Compound Predicate Nominative?A predicate nominative can be made up of more than one noun. In other words, it can be a compound. For example:
- The new law is an opportunity and a risk. (An opportunity and a risk is a compound predicate nominative.)
- I will be your employer, your friend, and your uncle. (Your employer, your friend, and your uncle is a compound predicate nominative.)