The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Navigation: Quick Links

Professor writing on a chalkboard




Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

Grammar Handbook: Complements

A complement is called a complement because it completes the predicate in a sentence. There are two kinds of complements: object complements and subject complements.

Object Complements

An object complement follows the direct object and modifies or refers to the direct object. An object complement can be an adjective, a noun, a word, or a group of words which acts as an adjective or noun:

Subject Complements

A subject complement follows a linking verb and modifies or refers to the subject. A subject complement can be an adjective, a noun, a pronoun, a word, or a group of words which acts as an adjective or noun:

Subject complements have two subgroups: predicate adjectives and predicate nouns.

Predicate Adjectives

A predicate adjective is a subject complement that is an adjective (see appositives):

Predicate Noun

A predicate noun (nominative) is a subject complement that is a noun: