What Are Complements?
Complement: Major Types
There are four major types of complements:
Here, 'exercise' is the subject and 'good' is the subject complement.
Exercise makes you
In this sentence, 'you' is the object and 'healthy' is the object complement.
'Rex' is the subject, 'is' is the linking verb, and the noun 'a dentist' is the subject complement. It gives us information about the subject.
Mike is the subject, 'was' is the linking verb, and the adjective 'sad' is the subject complement.
A subject complement can come in different ways:
- Adjectives:These are adjectives that appear after a linking verb and provide information about the subject of a clause. For example:
The book was
- Adverb phrases: Sometimes, we can use adverb phrases after certain verbs to describe the subject. But, if you can take the adverb out of the sentence, and it still makes sense, then it is not a subject complement. Here is an example:
The pen is
The cat is
- Noun clauses: Noun clauses can serve as subject complements, which follow linking verbs. For example:
Her fear is
The question is
The rumor is
An object complement is a word or group of words that follows and describes or renames a direct object in a sentence. It provides additional information about the direct object. For example:
He makes me
Here, 'me' is the direct object of the verb 'make', and the adjective 'mad' is the object complement that completes the meaning.
Object complements can appear in different forms:
- Noun and noun phrases: We use nouns and noun phrases as object complements when the sentence has a factitive verb such as elect, appoint, make, choose, deem, assign, name, select, vote and etc. Factitive verbs are used to indicate the result or state of the object after the action of the verb. For example:
We named our son
They voted him
Johnny put the turkey
They sent him
- Adjectives and Adjective Phrases: Adjectives or adjective phrases can modify or describe the direct object of a sentence. However, as with all object complements, these adjectives must immediately follow the direct object they are modifying. If they are placed before the direct object, they are acting as attributive adjectives and are not necessary to complete the meaning of the sentence. Pay attention to some examples:
I want to make my friend
It got me
- Prepositional phrases: A prepositional phrase can also be used to complement the direct object. Have a look:
She had a fear
I always consider myself
An adjective complement, also known as an adjective phrase complement, is a phrase or clause that provides essential information to complete the meaning of the adjective. Adjective complements can take the form of prepositional phrases and to-infinitives, or noun clauses:
- Prepositional Phrases: A prepositional phrase indicates the relationship between the adjective it complements and the object of the preposition. Pay attention to the examples:
I am absolutely happy
Laura felt alone
- To-infinitive clause: They provide additional information about the actions or behaviors that result from the adjective they are complementing. For example:
I am very pleased
I am really honored
- Noun Clauses: Noun Clauses are dependent clauses that function similarly to a noun. They serve to connect the meaning of the adjective to an action performed by a secondary subject. Take a look at the examples:
We were a little curious
We are so excited
Some words can serve as complements to nouns, typically appearing immediately after the noun they complement. They add extra information to a noun to clarify or complete its meaning. Noun complements usually appear in three forms, which are:
- Prepositional phrases: A prepositional phrase which serves as a noun complement usually appear after the words of quantity. These types of complements are completely necessary. Almost all the meaning in the noun phrase comes from the complement, not the main word. For example:
She bought a bunch
As you can see, "bunch" always needs a complement to clarify its meaning.
There was a passel
- That-clauses: a that-clause that serves as a noun complement usually comes directly after certain nouns. These nouns can be reporting nouns such as comment, remark, speech, claim or they can be abstract nouns like idea, fact and reason. For example:
- To-infinitive clauses: A to-infinitive clause can be used as a noun complement to talk about the aim or intention behind the noun. For example:
Subject Complements vs. Objects
Subject complements and objects have similar functions in a sentence, but the difference lies in the verb used. To understand this difference, it is important to first discuss the distinction between
- Action verbs are used when the subject performs an action, and the object receives the action. The subject of the sentence answers the question 'who' or 'what' is performing the action. For example:
- Linking verbs are used to connect the subject of a sentence to a subject complement, which provides additional information about the subject. Unlike action verbs, linking verbs do not express an action performed by the subject such as be, become, taste, look and feel. For example:
The cake looks
The cake tasted
Complement vs. Adjunct
Adjuncts are optional, and add extra information to the clause. Complements, on the other hand, are essential in order to complete the meaning of the clause.
If an element cannot be removed from the sentence without affecting its meaning, it is likely to be a complement. For example:
Johnny put the turkey
'Put' is a verb that requires a complement. Without the complement, the clause would not be complete.
I usually go camping
'On the weekends' is an adjunct. It is not essential to complete the meaning of the verb 'go.'
'Complements' are parts of a sentence that give more essential information. It means they cannot be removed from the sentence because it impairs the meaning. There are many types of complements that we discussed in the article:
|Noun||Adjective||That-clause||Prepositional phrase||Noun clause||To-infinitive||Adverb||Pronoun|
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Objects of Prepositions
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'Adjunct' is a word from the Latin that means 'join'. They are any elements in the structure of a clause that is not part of its core. Let's learn about them!
Subject complements are placed after linking verbs. Follow the article to learn more about them.
Some verbs can take a nominal structure or an adjectival structure as an object complement for the direct object of the transitive verb.