Topics within the English Sentence – Seen and Invisible


In Arthur Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Illustration, we discover a dialogue of how he views ‘the topic’ as one single entity:

Due to this fact the world as illustration, through which facet alone we’re right here contemplating it, has two important, needed, and inseparable halves. The one half is the thing, whose types are house and time, and thru these plurality. However the different half, the topic, doesn’t lie in house and time, for it’s complete and undivided in each representing being.

What Schopenhauer may need on thoughts is not the grammatical topic however the sentient being.

The grammatical topic

Topic versus the predicate, is a grammatical unit consisting of a noun or pronoun which represents the entity performing the motion. Instance:

Jesus wept.

The noun ‘Jesus’ is the topic and the conjugated verb ‘wept’ is the predicate.

The definition of ‘topic’ acknowledged above is a brief definition, for as we’re going to present, the English sentence permits different grammatical models -besides nouns or pronouns- to behave as topics.

Nouns and pronouns as topics

When topics are nouns or pronouns, they’re fairly seen and so they could also be simple to identify. Within the following sentence we will unequivocally see that ‘Dick and I’ are the themes of the sentence.

Dick and I went to the sport on Sunday.

‘Dick’ after all is a noun or a nickname (if you’ll), and I, a private pronoun.

Now, let’s attempt to spot the sentence within the following instance:

Justice is blind.

‘Justice’ is a noun and precedes the verb ‘is.’ Nevertheless, the noun ‘justice’ is an summary noun and being an abstraction it’s invisible. But, by its place and its operate we may even see that it’s the topic of the sentence.

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a) The self and the ego are Freudian innovations.

b) Daffodils bloom within the spring.

c) Daybreak broke.

By means of abstract of the above dialogue, let’s agree: whereas the themes within the instance (a) are the ‘self’ and the ‘ego,’ the topic in instance (b) are the ‘daffodils,’ and ‘Daybreak’ in instance (c). We will now generalize and say that nouns -both concrete and abstract- are sometimes the themes of sentences.

Imperatives as topics

Do not do this!

Word that ‘Do not’ precedes the verb ‘do’ and it’s performing as the topic of the sentence.

Let’s not argue about that!

Once more, ‘Let’s not’ precedes the verb ‘argue’ and acts as the topic of the sentence.

Verbals as topics

a) To personal riches is the poor man’s dream

b) To see it by is tough if not unimaginable

c) Selecting a combat with a baby is cowardly

In instance (a) ‘To personal riches’ is an infinitive verbal performing as the topic, and is ‘To see it by,’ in instance (b). In instance (c) ‘Selecting a combat’ is a gift participle performing as the topic of the sentence.

The peculiar function of those verbals getting used as topics, corroborates Schopenhauer’s instinct that some topics don’t lie in house and time, however are psychological constructs.


The topics of the English sentence fall into 5 teams:

Concrete nouns

Summary nouns



Verbals (infinitives and participles)

Revised definition:

Topic versus the predicate, is a grammatical unit consisting of a noun (concrete or summary), a private pronoun, imperatives, and verbals which don’t lie in house and time.

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