offers hundreds of practice questions and video explanations. Go there now.

Sign up or log in to Magoosh TOEFL Prep.

Magoosh Comics: The Subject of a Sentence

This week, I was very happy to see Rachel post a short tutorial on the subjects of sentences. This is a simple concept, but one that is very easy to get wrong in English. English is different from many other languages, because in both clauses and sentences, English nearly always demands a subject.

This is true even when a sentence might not have a subject in another language. For instance, if the weather is rainy a Spanish speaker might say “esta lloviendo,” which translates literally into English as “is raining.” And in Korean, you could say something along the lines of 비가,” which translates to just “raining.” But in English, we need a subject; we need to say “it is raining.” There is no “doer”… rain just happens. And yet we still need a subject, so we use “it.”

So it’s good to do some writing practice that focuses on subjects, especially if your native tongue is an East Asian or Romance language. (Or one of the many other languages where it’s easier to drop the subject than it would be in English.)

To practice using subjects in English, look at the complex cartoon drawing I made below (originally created for the Caddo Parish School District), and do the related activities below the drawing.

mc-tsoas_img1

 

ACTVITY 1: Numbered Subjects

Look at each numbered item in the fantasy illustration above. Then write a sentence for each item, using the item as the subject. I’ve completed three examples for you, with the subjects in bold.

Examples:

(1) The dragon has butterfly wings.

(4) The fly suddenly dies.

(6) Mushrooms like this one are fun to sleep under.

(Feel free to come up with your own examples for 1, 4, and 6 as you write all 12 sentences. Be creative!)

 

ACTIVITY 2: Writing Outside the Numbers

Now, write some sentences where the subject is not one of the numbered objects, or where the subject is abstract, not referring to a physical object in the picture. I’ve written two example sentences below, with the subjects in bold.

Not numbered in the picture: The water has frogs, fish, and funny-looking people in it.

Abstract subject: Things are happening all over the place in this picture.

 

ACTIVITY 3: Paragraph Writing

In the last two activities, you paid special attention to sentence subjects. Now you’re able to do longer, more complete English writing with properly formed sentences. Write a paragraph describing the picture, and put the subject of each sentence in bold. Or write a short story—2 paragraphs or longer—based on the picture. Again, put the sentence subjects in bold. Have fun!

 

Get at higher TOEFL score with your free Magoosh trial Most Popular Resources   * TOEFL Lessons  <https://toefl.magoosh.com/lessons?utm_source=toeflblog&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=popular&utm_term=endofpost&utm_content=lessons><noscript><img class=

No comments yet.


Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Share15
Tweet
Share
Pin1