Getting started on classical Latin
Getting started on classical Latin

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

4.3.2 Subject and object

Sometimes a sentence also contains a noun (or pronoun), indicating to whom or what the action is being done. In the sentence, ‘ The referee blew his whistle’, the subject is ‘ the referee’, the verb is ‘ blew’, and ‘ his whistle’ is the thing to which the action is done. This ‘receiver’ of the action is called the ‘object’ of the verb. Another way to think of this is to ask a question of the subject and verb; for example, ‘The referee blew – what?’ The answer to the question, ‘his whistle’, is the object.

Two of the sentences in Activity 9 above also have objects: ‘I like chocolate ’ and ‘Chris and Robbie climbed the tree ’.

Activity 10

Identify the subject, verb and object in the following sentences. Type your answers in the box provided.

  1. The dog fetched the ball.
  2. The girls were quietly reading their books.
  3. We don’t like hard work.
  4. In 60 ce Boudicca destroyed Colchester, London and St Albans.
  5. The Romans could not forgive her.
  6. People will be watching you.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


The dogfetchedthe ball
The girlswere readingtheir books
Wedo + likehard work
BoudiccadestroyedColchester, London, St Albans
The Romanscould + forgiveher
Peoplewill be watchingyou

As you can see from the examples in Activity 10, in English the subject usually comes before the verb and the object after it, so the order of components is subject–verb–object (sometimes shortened to SVO). This is not always so, however: the object may come first in English, perhaps for the sake of emphasis. And so it is possible to say:

Hard work we don’t like.

Similarly, the verb can sometimes come before the subject in English:

‘Get lost!’ shouted the man angrily.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371