Subject attributes

The subject may consist of one word or several words, but it must always have a noun in it. This noun which is the most important word in a sentence is often qualified by an adjective or the equivalent of an adjective which is called its attribute or enlargement.

Kinds of attributes

The attribute of a noun may be an adjective, an article, a pronoun, a participle, an infinitive or a phrase.

Study the following examples:

  • The baby smiled. (Here the attribute of the subject baby is the definite article the.)
  • Fresh milk is wholesome. (Here the attribute is the adjective ‘fresh’.)
  • His voice shook. (Here the attribute is the possessive adjective his.)
  • Kennedy, President of America, was assassinated. (Here the attribute is a noun phrase used in apposition to the subject.)
  • He himself said this. (Here the attribute is an emphatic pronoun.)
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss. (Attribute – participle)
  • Birds of the same feather flock together. (Attribute – a prepositional phrase)
  • His will to live pulled him through the difficult times. (Attribute – an infinitive)