The subject

TA3

 

The subject is the person, animal or thing that undergoes or performs the action, process or state that is indicated by the predicate. It is the most prominent verb complement and a complete sentence almost always includes a subject. It can be identified by asking the question who (wer) or what (was).

 

The subject of a sentence is always in the nominative case and agrees in person and number with the finite verb form. This principal is called agreement (concord).

 

Agreement (concord)

 

  Examples
person
number
verb form
Ich lerne Deutsch
first
singular
lerne
Ihr lernt Deutsch
second
plural
lernt

 


 

 

A noun or a pronoun can be used as subjects.

 

    Examples
noun Die Schüler schreiben einen Test.
Der nagelneue Sportwagen fährt bis zu 250 km/h.
pronoun Sie schreiben einen Test.
Er fährt bis zu 250 km/h.

 

 

Subject subordinate clauses can also function as subjects.

 

  Examples
Dass du mitmachst, ist wichtig.
Dich zu treffen, freut mich sehr.
Es ist ungewiss, ob die Feier stattfindet

 


 

 

Notes

 

The subject is an obligatory constituent of a sentence. It is only omitted in the second person singular of the imperative and in the impersonal passive voice.

 

    Examples
2nd person singular imperative Komm sofort zurück nach Haus!
impersonal passive * Den Kindern wird bei den Hausaufgaben geholfen.

 

* In the impersonal passive the pronoun es can function as a subject.

 

    Examples
impersonal passive Den Kindern wird bei den Hausaufgaben geholfen.
=
Es wird den Kindern bei den Hausaufgaben geholfen.

 

 

The pronoun es can also function as a subject in the following structures:

 

  es as Examples
a Korrelat of a subordinate clause Es ist schwierig, dass man die Prüfung besteht.
pseudo-subject (to give emphasis to the real subject) Es steht eine junge Frau am Eingang.
an impersonal subject Es regnet stark.