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What is a subject

Every sentence has a subject which is supplied by a noun. The subject is what the sentence is talking about. Sometimes the subject is stated explicitly and sometimes it isn’t. For example, in the sentence “I went to the store” the subject is “I” and we know that we are talking about me. However, if I say “he went to the store” the subject becomes less clear. We know we are talking about a “he”, but we don’t which “he” — “he” could be anybody.

What the subject can hide

When the subject is not well defined, sometimes referred to as an ‘unspecified noun’, it can hide details of what the sentence is talking about. Sometimes this is useful. If I’m offering you to site in a chair I don’t need to go into details about what the chair looks like and how it works. However, if I’m trying to sell you a chair you will probably want to know as many details as possible and how it compares with other chairs.

Clarifying the subject

In order to gain more information about the subject you can ask the question “Who or what specifically?” This should produce more information about the subject. This extra information may provide you with the details you want or it can give more information for you to determine where you want more details.

Unspecified Noun Summary

The subject refers to the topic being discussed or thought about.

When a subject is not specified it can hide important information.

To find more information ask “Who or what specifically” about the subject.

Related Pages

Unspecified Nouns
Unspecified Verbs
Modal Operators of Possibility
Modal Operators of Necessity
Universal Quantifiers
Complex Equivalence
Cause and Effect
Mind Reading