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The Compound Subject

Recognize a compound subject when you see one.

Every verb in a sentence must have at least one subject. But that doesn't mean that a verb can have only one subject. Some verbs are greedy as far as subjects go. A greedy verb can have two, three, four, or more subjects all to itself. When a verb has two or more subjects, you can say that the verb has a compound subject. Check out the following examples:

At the local Dairy Queen, Marsha gasped at the sight of pickle slices on her banana split.

Marsha = subject; gasped = verb.

At the local Dairy Queen, Jenny and Marsha gasped at the sight of pickle slices on their banana splits.

Jenny, Marsha = compound subject; gasped = verb.

At the local Dairy Queen, Officer Jenkins, Mrs. Lowery, the Williams twins, Harold, Billy Jo, Jenny, and Marsha gasped at the sight of pickle slices on their banana splits.

Officer Jenkins, Mrs. Lowery, the Williams twins, Harold, Billy Jo, Jenny, Marsha = compound subject; gasped = verb.

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