I have the following questions regarding this sentence.

To train them is my cause.

  1. What is/are the verb(s) in the sentence?

    My guess: train.
    Question: only train or to train?

  2. What is subject and predicate?

    My guess: subject = My cause, predicate = To train them

  3. What the type of word (noun,pronoun,adjective,verb etc.) is is?

    My guess: verb

  • Hint: Your answers 1 and 3 are not consistent with each other.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 8:37
  • yes, I think all my answers are wrong :/
    – Rico
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 8:46
  • I don't think they're all wrong -- you're definitely on the right track. But, in listing the verbs in the sentence, you omit one word that you later say is a verb. "Is" is a verb, so why didn't you mention it in your answer to question 1?
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 8:52
  • @Rico The subject is definitely Ash Ketchum. Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 9:12
  • Yes, indeed it is 3058846 C;
    – Rico
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 9:13

3 Answers 3


This sentence has two clauses, and therefore two verbs.

Starting with the subordinate infinitive clause (For me) to train them, the verb is train.
The subordinate clause is subject of the main clause, which has is my goal as its verb phrase,
with is, an auxiliary form of be, as the only other verb in the sentence.

There are two predicates, since there's two clauses.
Respectively, train them and is my goal are the predicates (a different name for Verb Phrase;
the to in the subordinate clause is just an infinitive marker, not part of the verb phrase.)
The subject of train them is (For me), which is deleted, like most infinitive subjects.
But it's clear from the main clause that the speaker intends training them personally.


To train them -> Subject

is (be) -> verb

my cause -> complement

  • How did you figure this out? o.O
    – Rico
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 12:49
  • You can obviously see that 'is' is the verb. Then you can figure out the rest by the way the verb interacts with them. towson.edu/ows/sentpatt.htm
    – Gavin
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 12:58

Here you have a special sentence pattern with the verb to be. The most frequent type is:

A mouse 1 is 2 an animal 3.

Mr Smith 1 is 2 my English teacher 3.

Snow 1 is 2 white 3. Here the complement is an adjective.

The plates 1 are 2 in the cupboard 3. Here the complement is a noun group that is a where-indication.

1 subject, 2 verb (of the type linking verb) 3 complement (Various word classes are possible.)

Sentence patterns with the verb to be have a lot of variants. In the subject position there can be a to-infinitive:

To err 1 is 2 human 3.

To train them 1 is 2 my cause 3.

Google shows a lot about sentence patterns or sentence structures. I don't know which are the best sites and if there is a site that has patterns only with to be and other linking verbs as to become, to stay/to remain. One general site is:


  • How about in the cupboard are the plates? Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 17:11
  • If someone asks "where are the plates?" the natural answer would be "in the cupboard", because the repetition "The plates are in the cupboard" is unnecessary. But an answer such as "In the cupboard are the plates" would be very unlikely in such a situation. Perhaps someone might ask "What is in the cupboard", then an answer such as "In the cupboard are the plates (and not the cups) would be possible. - But perhaps I have misunderstood your question.
    – rogermue
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 17:24
  • 1
    So my point's that the word order can't give us the whole story, because in Here comes Bob, it's Bob that's the subject - but it follows the verb. So it could be quite useful to put some subject finding tests in there? Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 17:26
  • Well, in my understanding a where-indication as "in the cupboard" or a simple local adverb such as "here" can't be a subject, except in sentences such as "in the cupboard is an adverbial" or "here is an adverb of position or destination". But I know there are other views.
    – rogermue
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 17:38

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