Good afternoon! Please could you help me to define what parts of a sentence are included in this phrase: "The most interesting thing for me is to create pictures". What is a subject and what is a predicate here? Is "thing" an optional element? Why isn't "for me" situated at the end of the phrase? Thank you in advance...
- The most interesting thing for me is to create pictures.
First, this is not a phrase; this is a sentence. Phrases are parts of sentences.
Second, like all English sentences, it has a subject noun phrase and a predicate verb phrase.
The subject noun phrase is
- the most interesting thing for me
and the predicate verb phrase is
- is to create pictures.
Neither of these is a simple phrase; the subject phrase has a superlative construction in it, and the verb phrase is equative, with an infinitive clause equated to the subject.
For me is located where it is because it modifies most interesting; the speaker is judging interest from their own experience. It could go at the beginning, with a comma, but that would emphasize the personal nature; it really couldn't go anywhere else in the sentence without changing the meaning or creating ungrammaticality.
Thing, while essentially meaningless, is nevertheless not optional. It's required because English does not allow adjectives to stand as nouns except in very special cases. If we say the old we mean generically old people as a class, but we can't mean 'that old guy over there' the way el anciano or der Alte might in Spanish or German. Thing is the dummy noun that we use as a crutch in such cases (for non-living nouns; for people, guy, lady, folks, people, etc. are common).
There's lots more grammar in the sentence; superlatives are very complex, and the infinitive has no subject, for instance. But this is long enough already.