Subject and object complements

Complement is an important element of sentence. It may be a word, phrase, or clause used to complement meaning to subject, object or verb in sentence. Among all complements, subject and object complements are highly important to construct complete meaning by providing information to subject or object in the form of words, phrases, or clause.

Meaning of subject complements

Subject complement is a word, phrase, or clause used to gives or provides information to the subject of the sentence.

  • India is a developing nation. (a developing nation is subject complement)

In this example, “a developing nation” is the description of subject – India.

It is expressing something extra about India. Here, linking verb connects description “a developing nation” with subject.

Usually, subject complement follows linking verb not helping verb.

But, In case of direct object, helping auxiliary is preferred instead linking verb.

Simply, subject complement is the additional information or description about the subject itself linked by a linking verb.

Useful examples of subject complements

Let’s see some useful examples of subject complements –

1. As a noun or noun phrase —

  • He is Jack.
  • That is a tiger.
  • It is a butterfly.

2. As an adjective or adjective phrase–

  • Himalaya is amazing.
  • It is a lofty mountain.
  • Amazon is a big river.
  • Andes is a volcanic mountain.

Generally, adverbs aren’t used for subject complement.

Definition of object complements

Now, let’s see the correct use of object complements.

While learning object complements, one must not get confused with adverbial complement and verb complement.

Like subject complement, object complement may be a word, phrase, or clause used to gives or provides information to object of the sentence. But, in this case, object complement isn’t used to describe subject. Actually, it is used to rename the noun it qualify.

Object complement always follows the direct object of the sentence.

Whereas, subject complement follows linking verb.

Examples of object complements

  • Teacher noticed students playing in the classroom (object complement)
  • Gardner found boy stealing mangoes.
  • People termed leader incapable for them.

These examples show that the words like playing, stealing or incapable are used either to rename the earlier object or becoming something else.

On the other hand, adverbial complements is used to express time, place, purpose etc. for the action performed in the sentence.

I think this enough to understand the meaning and use of subject and object complements.

Difference between noun and adjective clause

Simple examples of degrees