Craig White's Literature Courses

Terms / Themes



Oxford English Dictionary subject. 6b. a thing having real independent existence.

7. logic b The term or part of a proposition of which the predicate is affirmed or denied.

8. Grammar. The member or part of a sentence denoting that concerning which something is predicated (i.e. of which a statement is made, a question asked, or a desire expressed); a word or group of words setting forth that which is spoken about and constituting the ‘nominative’ to a finite verb.

9. Mod. Philos. More fully conscious or thinking subject : The mind, as the ‘subject’ in which ideas inhere; that to which all mental representations or operations are attributed; the thinking or cognizing agent; the self or ego.

but not

I.1.a.a. One who is under the dominion of a monarch or reigning prince; one who owes allegiance to a government or ruling power, is subject to its laws, and enjoys its protection.

12a. That which is or may be acted or operated upon; a person or thing towards which action or influence is directed, or that is the recipient of some treatment. [English today more often refers to this person or thing as "object"—see 3, 5, 6 below]

13d. An object of study in relation to its use for pedagogic or examining purposes; a particular department of art or science in which one is instructed or examined.



Oxford English Dictionary subject. I.1.a. Originally: something placed before or presented to the eyes or other senses. Now (more generally): a material thing that can be seen and touched.

3. A person or thing to which a specified action, thought, or feeling is directed; the person or thing to which something is done, or on which something acts or operates

5. Philos. A thing which is perceived, thought of, known, etc.; spec. a thing which is external to or distinct from the apprehending mind, subject, or self. Opposed to subject n. 8.

6. Grammar. A noun, noun phrase, pronoun, or clause which forms the complement of an active monotransitive verb; (also) either of the complements of an active ditransitive verb. Also: a word or phrase following and governed by a preposition. Cf. direct object.


The subject acts, the object is acted upon.