Subject and Predicate Difficulties

Discussion in 'All Other Discussions' started by Benjamin, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. Benjamin

    Benjamin
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    I'm struggling with distinguishing between the subject and predicate which is causing me problems. I understand the concrete rules of thumb about "only = predicate" or "the only = subject" but in the cases that do not have “only” it is too easy to get the S&P crossed.

    I have three other rules I've tried to apply to separate between the two:

    Example: Aristotle is left-handed.

    1) In A-claims the class restricted is the subject:

    Aristotle (subject) is restricted because he is left-hand. Left-handed people (subject) is restricted because of Aristolte. Too easy to turn it around either way...doesn't help

    2) Predicate- to assert or affirm something about the subject:

    Assert that Aristotle is left-handed. Assert that left-handed is what Aristotle is....Doesn't help!

    3) Predicate- something that is affirmed or denied about something else:

    It is affirmed that Aristotle is left-handed (subject). It is affirmed that a left-handed person is Aristotle (subject)...doesn't help.

    Any ideas what I'm doing wrong or rules to help?
     
  2. Benjamin

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    I missed above that the subject should be a noun, so Aristotle would be the subject.

    What about: St. Louis is on the Mississippi. Which one is the subject?
     
  3. Scarlett O.

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    I think that you are making this way too complicated.

    The subject is who or what you are talking about. And the predicate is what they or it did or what they or it are.
    ..........................................................................................................

    Let's try your sentences.

    Aristotle is left handed
    (subject) (predicate)

    "Left handed" is a predicate adjective. It's an adjective in the predicate that describes the subject.
    ...........................................................................................................
    St. Louis is (on the Mississippi).
    (subject) (predicate)
    "Mississippi" is in a prepositional phrase. The subject of a sentence cannot be inside a prepositional phrase.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    St. Louis is on the Mississippi

    St. Louis is the subject

    is is the verb or predicate

    A sentence usually consists of Noun (subject), verb (predicate) and noun object......everything else is a filler or clauses and phrases.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. Benjamin

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    Thanks guys.

    Scarlet, your rule helps but according to your rule on the below:

    There are frogs wherever there are snakes.

    Is the subject frogs or snakes? LOL, I'm showing my ignorance. But I think I have to apply the prepositional rule you gave (wherever there are snakes) if the subject can not be in there that eliminates snakes.

    My A-claim would be: All places there are frogs(S) are places there are snakes (P).

    But I find once again :tear: I have the S & P backwards. :BangHead:
     
  6. Benjamin

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    Jim,

    Is the snake a noun object or the frog? :eek:
     
  7. Jim1999

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    Sorry, I got doing three things at once and at my age I can't handle that......Be right back in a couple of minutes

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  8. Jim1999

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    There are frogs wherever there are snakes.

    Simply. There are frogs is the subject.....wherever is the verb and there are snakes is the predicate noun modifying the verb wherever.......or explaining why frogs are the subject....we wouldn't talk about frogs or snakes except in this combination which completes the thought.

    The predicate noun or adjective completes a linking verb. The former identifies the subject (frog) whilst the latter modies the subject....

    There are frogs..............a simple statement, but what about the frogs?.....well, they are wherever there are snakes.

    An object (noun) would follow an incomplete verb of action.

    That is a basic sentence structure

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. Benjamin

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    Thanks Jim, this is very interestingly contrary to what the (supposed) correct answer is in my book though.

    I'm doing philosophy and I am suppose to translate the phrase "There are frogs wherever there are snakes" into a catorical claim. In this case it is obviously an A-Claim or All S are P. (The subject and predicate must always be in the right position.)

    The answer, which I got wrong, and comes from the author of the book says:

    "All places there are snakes are places where there are frogs."

    Guess I need to bring this up to my professor then. :confused:
     
  10. Scarlett O.

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    OK.

    The phrase "wherever there are snakes" is a dependent clause (meaning it cannot stand along and begins with a subordinating conjuction, "wherever").

    And a subject of a sentence can never be found in a dependent clause. That's because a dependent clause can be removed from the sentence and the sentence can still stand alone as a complete sentence without it.


    That leaves you with the independent clause, "There are frogs....."

    There is only one noun in that clause and it is "frogs". The word, "There" is an adverb.

    There are........ frogs....... wherever there are snakes.
    (predicate).....(subject)...(dependent clause)

    The kernel sentence (meaning simple subject and simple predicate) is:

    "frogs are"

    The adverb "there" tells where they are and it is part of the complete predicate.

    And the dependent clause "wherever there are snakes" clarifies what "there" means.

    Just as a side note, I'm not really understanding this philosphy professor's logic and his use of "predicate".
     
    #10 Scarlett O., Nov 2, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2008
  11. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    The problem here is a confusion between a grammar predicate and logic predicate.

    They are not the same thing.

    In grammar the predicate is basically the verb.
    In logic predicate deals with relationships and variables.
     
  12. Scarlett O.

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    Ah.....thank you so much, Roger.. I did feel like this - :BangHead:

    And then I felt like this - :tonofbricks:


    And now I feel like this - :laugh: :laugh:

     
  13. Jim1999

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    Well, it is some 60 odd years since I studied English grammar, I have forgotten the terminology. I have to think hard about everything anymore.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  14. Jim1999

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    Well, it is some 60 odd years since I studied English grammar, I have forgotten the terminology. I have to think hard about everything anymore.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. Benjamin

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    It needs to begin with standard-form categorical claims and leads to categorical syllogism where a conclusion, on a (subject), is later evaluated as true or not. In a two premise argument the syllogism begins with two predicates changing into two premises in a deductive argument, and it is the subject that the conclusion is made on.

    So, in determining a valid or invalid argument, if one were to translate a claim into: All Baptist are Christians. It means a whole lot different than: All Christians are Baptist. If when factoring in other premises and starting off on the wrong subject you got problems. So I try to get real technical about this before I spend a bunch of time doing the exercise. You never know what might pop up if the S & P is reversed.

    Anyway, in this case “wherever” being “any place” meaning where both frogs and snakes exist they always exist together, it is not affected by changing the S & P so does not change the truth value of that simple statement. Although “truly” backwards grammatically it logically means the exact same thing either way you switch the S & P. BUT, it’s not by the rules I was given. :(

    Technically, the author made a mistake but I understand logically he is still correct, or at least “OK” in his translation. My concern is when the statements aren’t so simple, but I guess the subject is usually clearer in those cases and I seem to be getting those correct.

    My professor has told me if I can ever make a case that reasoning is flawed, which he can’t logically refute, I win. He has conceded over you guy’s points that the frog is the true subject and that the author, who says, “It is amazing that college students can’t get, All X are Y, and All Y are X in the right order.” is technically incorrect in his translation. I learned how to separate S & P better in the process and I love winning. :) Thanks
     
  16. Jim1999

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    There are frogs wherever there are snakes.

    In this sentence the reverse may not be true..

    read: Snakes feed on frogs, therefore frogs are present wherever there are snakes....But this reversed sentence is not the same as the original. The subject has changed to snakes and the object to frogs.

    The end result may be the same...well fed snakes!

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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