Subject Complements for intermediate learners

Subject complements are placed after linking verbs. Follow the article to learn more about them.

What Are Subject Complements in English?

What Are Subject Complements?

Subject complements, also known as predicative adjectives, are used after linking verbs like 'be', 'become', 'appear', 'taste' and etc. to describe the subject. These complements are necessary for the clauses to be meaningful and complete.


We have five groups of subject complements in English. Take a look at the following list:

Now let us analyze some of them:

Noun Phrases as Subject Complements

As you probably know, noun phrases can be a single word or two or more words together. However, these noun phrases can describe the subject and function as subject complements. Study the following examples:

Miss Hale has a dance class.

Those two ladies there are my best friends.

As you can see, the highlighted nouns are describing the subject.

Pronouns as Subject Complements

All kinds of pronouns (subjective, objective, demonstrative, interrogative, and indefinite) can be used as subject complements. Let us study the following examples:

Her favorite color is this?

Here, a demonstrative pronoun has been used to complement the subject.

Lana is doing what?

As you can see, an interrogative pronoun is functioning as a subject complement.


Please note that subjective pronouns are not commonly used as subject complements nowadays.

Adjective Phrases as Complements

Adjective phrases can be a single word or more. They are used to describe subjects. Look at the following examples:

The blue roses are lavish.

The city is large.

As you can see, an adjective has been used to describe the subject.


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