Verb Complements

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Verb Complements :

A Verb complement (notice the spelling of the word) is any word or phrase that completes the sense of a subject, an object, or a verb. As you will see, the terminology describing predicates and complements can overlap and be a bit confusing. Students are probably wise to learn one set of terms, not both.

  • A subject complement follows a linking verb; it is normally an adjective or a noun that renames or defines in some way the subject.

    • A glacier is a huge body of ice.

    • Glaciers are beautiful and potentially dangerous at the same time.

    • This glacier is not yet fully formed. (verb form acting as an adjective, a participle)

    Adjective complements are also called predicate adjectives; noun complements are also called predicate nouns or predicate nominatives.

  • An object complement follows and modifies or refers to a direct object. It can be a noun or adjective or any word acting as a noun or adjective.

    • The convention named Dogbreath Vice President to keep him happy. (The noun "Vice President" complements the direct object "Dogbreath"; the adjective "happy" complements the object "him.")

    • The clown got the children too excited. (The participle "excited" complements the object "children.")

  • A verb complement is a direct or indirect object of a verb.

    • Granny left Raoul all her money. (Both "money" [the direct object] and "Raoul" [the indirect object] are said to be the verb complements of this sentence.)

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