Sunday, 24 February 2013

8 Things to Know About the Complement Element in a Clause

1) It expresses meaning which adds to that of another clause element. 

2) It adds to either the subject (subject complement) or the object (object complement).

3) The subject complement usually follows the subject and verb in a clause. The verb is usually a form of be (is, was, etc.) It could be other verbs. As long as it can link the complement meaning with the subject meaning. These are called copular, or linking verbs. For example:

She is a housewife. 
 (S) (V)   (C)

The dog became agitated.
   (S)        (V)         (C)

The painting looks marvellous.
    (S)               (V)     (C)

4) Here is a list of some copular verbs with complements:

appear (sad)
feel (happy)
grow (weary)
remain (still)
seem (agitated)
turn (hot)

5) An object complement usually follows the direct object and its meaning relates to it. For example:

They voted him leader.
He made me happy.

6) All of these can be complements: 

Noun phrases, including single nouns:
John is a chef.          They became movie stars. 

Adjective phrases, including single adjectives:
Joyce is very sad.        The pie is ready.

This is her.       Where's that?       That's who?

Some subordinate clauses:
That's what I replied. 

7) When the complement is a noun phrase, it has the same number as its corresponding element. For example:

The child is a monster.
The children are monsters.

8) It's the same with the object complement:

I find your child a monster.
I find your children monsters.


  1. Good! Thank you for your precious, tedious work. I'm glad to see grammar isn't dead -- but the Ghandi I'm thinking of is.What am I missing?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Haha. There's no relation to Gandhi really. I call my blog that because I like the question. Thanks for reading :)