What are complements?

November 16, 2010pdf

The label complement is applied to several different things.

A subject complement

A subject complement is a word or phrase which follows a copular verb. It either modifies the subject or denotes something identical to the subject.

The bold italic items in the following sentences are examples of subject complements.

  • Jane is an advocate.
  • Susie became a travel writer.
  • I am very excited.
  • Alice is in the office.

Object complement

An object complement is a phrase which follows a direct object. An object complement either modifies the object or denotes something identical to it.

  • I consider hang-gliding dangerous.
  • They appointed him monitor.

The complement of an adjective or a noun is a word or phrase which directly follows it.

Read the following sentences:

  • He is fond of his grand children. (Here the phrase ‘of his grand children’ is the complement of the adjective fond.)
  • Let’s get a bottle of wine. (Here the phrase ‘of wine’ is the complement of the noun bottle.)

Notes

The complement of a preposition is the same as the object of a preposition.

  • The cat is on the roof. (Here the phrase ‘the roof’ is the complement of the preposition on. It is also the object of the preposition on.)

The complement of a verb is the same as the object of a verb.

  • Jane bought a new car. (Here the phrase ‘a new car’ is the complement of the verb bought. It is also the object of the verb bought.)
Free Grammar Guide: "120 Deadly Grammar and Vocabulary Mistakes."