Implied Subjects: Explained with Examples: It is necessary to know the implied subjects and their proper usage. We use it regularly in our day to day, mostly, informal conversations. Here you would get a deep insight of implied subjects. So, let’s begin!
What are Implied Subjects?
An implied subject refers to a subject that is not explicitly mentioned in a sentence but can be inferred from the surrounding context. It is sometimes referred to as the zero subject, null subject, or understood subject. Implied subjects are commonly found in imperative sentences, elliptical constructions, and non-finite clauses.
- Be careful with that knife.
Implied subject of the imperative sentence: “you“
- Going for a swim?
Implied subject of the elliptical sentence: “Are you” (“Are you going for a swim?”)
- Hoping for a positive outcome, she prepared for the interview.
Implied subject of the clause “hoping for a positive outcome”: “she“
The implied subject ‘you’ in imperatives
Imperative sentences, which include requests, commands, instructions, and warnings, often omit the subject but imply that the pronoun “you” is understood as the person or people being addressed.
See the following examples:
- Please turn off the lights.
- Clean your room.
- Don’t forget to lock the door.
- Hand me the book, please.
- Consider the impact of your actions.
- Think about the consequences before making a decision.
- Close the window.
- Don’t eat all the cookies.
- Run as fast as you can!
Remember to use ‘You’ in following cases:
➡Omitting the implied subject “you” in imperative sentences is a common practice. Explicitly stating the subject can come across as rude or overbearing, as it emphasizes the command.
“Pass the salt.” (“You pass the salt.” – a retort)
“You please clean your room before going out.” (“Clean your room before going out.” – stronger command)
➡If the sentence is not in the imperative form, the subject “you” is explicitly mentioned. It is so because The subject cannot be inferred from the context and needs to be specified for clarity.
You baked a delicious cake for the party.
Omitting “you” would make it unclear who baked the cake: did you/he/she/they bake the cake for the party? The subject is not evident from the context and needs to be stated.
You feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish a challenging task.
Here, “you” refers to individuals in general. Omitting “you” would make it unclear who experiences the sense of accomplishment: do we/he/she/they feel it when finishing a challenging task? The subject is not clear from the context and cannot be inferred; it needs to be stated.
See an interesting Examples (Harry Potter Series)
“Is it true that you shouted at Professor Umbridge?”
“You called her a liar?”
“You told her He Who Must Not Be Named is back?”
“Have a biscuit, Potter.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Implied Subjects in elliptical, minor & fragment constructions
In elliptical constructions, minor sentences, and fragments, the subject can be implied instead of explicitly stated. Such sentences are referred to as minor sentences or fragments and are commonly used in conversations and informal writing.
Observe the following examples:
- “Going to the movies tonight?” “Yep, bought the tickets already.”
The context clarifies the subject: “(Are you) going to the movies tonight?” “Yep, (I) bought the tickets already.”
- “Tasted delicious. Thanks for the recipe.”
“(It) tasted delicious. Thanks for the recipe.”
- “Leaving now.”
“(I am) leaving now.”
- “Can’t believe it!”
“(I) can’t believe it!”
- “Wishing you a fantastic birthday!”
“(I am) wishing you a fantastic birthday!”
- “Any plans for the weekend?” “Not sure yet. Maybe just relax at home.”
“(I am) not sure yet. Maybe just relax at home.”
- “Great performance!”
“(It was) a great performance!”
- “Apologies for the inconvenience caused.”
“(I) apologize for the inconvenience caused.”
Implied Subjects in non-finite clauses
A clause normally has a subject. A non-finite clause, however, may not necessarily contain a subject, but it is implied from context or interpreted from the main clause.
- Having studied diligently, Poonam aced the exam.
implied subject of the non-finite clause “having studied diligently” (who studied?) = Poonam (from the main clause)
- To improve his fitness, Jarina started jogging regularly.
implied subject of the non-finite clause “to improve his fitness” (who wants to improve?) = Jarina (from the main clause)
See more examples:
- Running late, Mary hurriedly grabbed her bag and rushed out of the house.
implied subject of the non-finite clause “running late” (who is running late?) = Mary (from the main clause)
- Without hesitating, the brave firefighter entered the burning building to save the trapped residents.
implied subject of the non-finite clause “without hesitating” (who didn’t hesitate?) = the brave firefighter (from the main clause)
- Exhausted from the long journey, the hikers set up camp near the mountain peak.
implied subject of the non-finite clause “exhausted from the long journey” (who is exhausted?) = the hikers (from the main clause)
- Eager to learn, the students eagerly participated in the interactive workshop.
implied subject of the non-finite clause “eager to learn” (who is eager to learn?) = the students (from the main clause)
- With a determined mindset, Ajeet sir overcame every obstacle and achieved success.
implied subject of the non-finite clause “with a determined mindset” (who has a determined mindset?) = Ajeet Sir (from the main clause)
An implied subject is one that is omitted in a sentence because it is clear from context. The subject is omitted in imperatives like “Take a deep breath,” certain non-finite clauses such as “Running late, she rushed out the door,” and minor sentences like “Sorry for the inconvenience.” In conversations and informal writing, you may omit the subject when it is easily interpreted from context, for example, “Going to the store, need anything?” Note, however, that you should generally provide the subject in declarative sentences in formal writing, such as “I wish you a great success” “I have been waiting for the answer.”