English Grammar

Difference between tacit and express subject with examples

Tacit subject

The tacit subject is one that is not expressed in the sentence but that can be understood by the context. For example: We run every day. (Unspoken subject: us) / I met your brother. (Unspoken subject: me). Differences between tacit and express subject

Sentences in English are syntactically organized into two different parts: a subject (who performs the action) and a predicate (the execution of that action).

In sentences with an unspoken subject, the person who performs the action is omitted but there is no doubt about its existence. To detect who the subject is in a sentence with an unspoken subject, there are some clues:

  • The conjugation of the verb . For example: We can have dinner here. The verb ending – emos indicates that it is a conjugated verb in the first person plural (we).
  • The pronouns . For example, they came to his house at night. The possessive pronoun “his” indicates that the subject is he, she or you.
  • Express subject in the previous sentence. For example: Clara studied Portuguese. Now he teaches it at the university. If we have been following the coherence of the text, we know that the second sentence continues to speak of Clara, therefore, the tacit subject will be “she”.

Sentences with an unspoken subject are not sentences devoid of a subject, therefore, they are bimembre sentences since they have a subject and a predicate.

Nor should they be confused with impersonal sentences  (for example: It is raining ), which do not have a subject since the action is carried out by itself.

Examples of sentences with an unspoken subject

  1. Let’s go to the movies tomorow? (Unspoken subject: us)
  2. He left after midnight. (Unspoken subject: he / she / you)
  3. Finally they arrived! (Unspoken subject: they / they / you)
  4. Come back soon, please. (Unspoken subject: you)
  5. Do you want us to seat you by the window? (Unspoken subject: you)
  6. He waited an hour in vain. (Unspoken subject: he / she / you)
  7. We never saw him again . (Unspoken subject: us)
  8. Today they do not work . (Unspoken subject: they / they / you)
  9. Pour me a double. (Unspoken subject: you)
  10. And where did it come from? (Unspoken subject: he / she / you)

Express subject

The express subject is one that is explicitly mentioned in a sentence . That is, the one we see reflected in prayer. This subject is made up of a noun phrase and can be placed anywhere in the sentence without changing its meaning. Although in general, in a conventional sentence it will always be placed at the beginning of it, before the verb. It is the most used form in our language, especially in formal speech and writing. To understand it better, let’s see an example: Differences between tacit and express subject

Miguel studies mathematics.

In this case we see clearly that the subject is Miguel , because he is the one who performs the action of the verb. Thus we can also observe that it is a noun phrase since the nucleus of it is a noun.

Examples of express subject

  1. The children went out to play in the garden.
  2. You know what I’m talking about.
  3. Tea and coffee are ready.
  4. Juan has many friends.
  5. Three years is not a long time.
  6. The village children usually play in this park.
  7. No one could answer the question correctly.
  8. Claudia arrived earlier than the others.
  9. Mario and Estela invited us to dinner.
  10. They know what they are doing.

Differences between tacit and express subject

Now that we know what each of them are, let’s focus on their differences :

  1. The tacit subject is never written, we must look for it to know it.
  2. The express subject always appears in the sentence and can be a noun or a pronoun.
  3. The express subject can be placed in any part of the sentence although it usually goes to the beginning.
  4. The unspoken subject does not appear in any position.
  5. The express subject is the most used in our language, especially to facilitate understanding.
  6. The unspoken subject helps us to avoid repetitions of words and to improve communication.

Examples of tacit and express subject

Next we are going to see a series of examples of sentences with unspoken and express subjects .

  • The boy is sitting on a park bench (express)
  • He’s sitting on a park bench (unspoken)
  • His father works in a multinational (express)
  • Work in a multinational (tacit)
  • We listened to music (express)
  • We listened to music (unspoken)
  • You bought a backpack at Raquel’s store (express)
  • You bought a backpack at Raquel’s store (tacit)
  • The women were tired of that situation (express)
  • They were tired of that situation (unspoken)
  • Alberto bought a gift for his mother (express)
  • He bought a gift for his mother (unspoken)
  • Antonio reads a lot of adventure books (express)
  • Read lots of adventure books (unspoken)
  • María called her father to tell him the news (express)
  • He called his father to tell him the news (unspoken)

Differences between tacit and express subject

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