Some sentences do not take objects or adverbs (or adverbial phrases) after the verbs. Instead, they take complements. A complement is the part of the sentence that gives more information about the subject (subject complement) or about the object (object complement) of the sentence.
Subject complements normally follow certain verbs like be, seem, look, etc.
He is British. (British gives more information about he)
She became a nurse. (nurse gives more information about she)
Object complements follow the direct objects of the verb and give more information about those direct objects.
They painted the house red. (red is a complement giving more information about the direct object house)
She called him an idiot. (an idiot is a complement giving more information about the direct object he).
The complement often consists of an adjective (e.g. red) or a noun phrase (e.g. an idiot) but can also be a participle phrase.
Example: I saw her standing there.
(Standing there is a complement telling more about her).
Pick out the complements in the following sentences and indicate whether subject, object or participial complements.
- The tourist is a German citizen.
- She seems a very arrogant lady.
- You look tired.
- They painted the car green.
- James nicknamed Lucy the queen.
- I saw him stealing the mango.
- They beat the thief senseless.
- The priest looks a kind person.
- We left her crying.
- Job left her trembling.
- A German citizen – subject complement
- A very arrogant lady – subject complement
- Tired – subject complement
- Green – object complement
- The queen – object complement
- Stealing the mango – participial complement
- senseless – object complement
- A kind person – subject complement
- Crying – participial complement
- Trembling – participial complement