Adjective Complements

Adjective Complements are clauses or phrases that give information about an adjective. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

Adjective Complements in the English Grammar

What Are Adjective Complements?

An adjective complement (also called an adjective phrase complement) is a clause or phrase that gives information about an adjective or modifies it. It completes the meaning of an adjective or adjective phrase.
It immediately follows an adjective in a sentence.

The manager was anxious when price rates fell.

Are you afraid of cockroaches?


Adjective complements usually work with predicative adjectives (adjectives that come after a linking verb). For example:

Dad was so happy that they finally got engaged.

I am worried that the test results will not be good.

Adjective Complements: Types

An adjective complement can be:

  1. a relative clause
  2. a prepositional phrase
  3. an infinitive clause

1. Relative Clauses as Adjective Complements

Noun clauses are groups of words that act as a noun. They're dependent clauses and do not express a complete thought. Noun clauses commonly begin with: who, what, where, when, why, how, that.

It was obvious that she was lying.

I was anxious that it might be cancer.

It's amazing how you've accomplished so many of your goals.

using adjective complements in a sentence

2. Prepositional Phrases as Adjective Complements

Prepositional phrases consist of a preposition and the object of the preposition which can be a noun, pronoun, noun phrase, pronoun phrase, or noun clause. They can act as adjective complements. Take a look at these examples:

He was addicted to marijuana.

3. Infinitive Clauses as Adjective Complements

Infinitive phrases are formed by 'to + the base form of the verb' plus any additional objects or modifiers of the verb.

We're happy to know you!

I'm glad to be of service.

Adjective Complements: Placements

When we have both an infinitive clause and a prepositional phrase as adjective complements, the order should be like this:

  • adjective + (prepositional phrase: for/of + noun) + (to-infinitives)

It is necessary for you to study for your exams.

It is very important for you to listen to your parents.


Do not to confuse infinitive phrases with prepositional phrases beginning with to.

Adjective Complement's Essentiality

Complements are necessary parts of a sentence and without them, the meaning of the sentence remains incomplete. Consider this sentence:

It may be necessary.

Because it has a dummy subject ('it') and we don't know what's it about, the listener might ask themselves "what may be necessary?". In this example, we need an adjective complement to give the necessary information needed in order for the sentence to make sense:

It may be necessary for you to wear a tie at the ceremony.


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In grammar, complements are words, phrases, or clauses that are essential to complete the meaning of a given expression. Here, we will study them thoroughly!

Subject Complements

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

Object Complements

Some verbs can take a nominal structure or an adjectival structure as an object complement for the direct object of the transitive verb.


The part of a sentence that contains the verb and gives information about the subject is called the predicate. In this lesson, we will discuss it.


Antecedents are nouns or noun phrases that refer to the pronoun. If you are eager to learn them or know more about them, read this.


Appositives help us understand the text better. You may ask why? Appositives give more information about a particular noun.

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