Complement - Learn Its Meaning, Definition and Use in Sentences with Examples

Are you an English language learner who likes to experiment with sentence structures? If you are, you would surely know quite a bit about the components that make up a sentence. In this article, you will be introduced to one of the components of a sentence – the complement. You will learn the meaning, definition, use and types of complements. Also, go through the examples given for a deeper understanding of the same.

Table of Contents

What is a Complement? – Meaning and Definition

A complement, as the name suggests, is a word that is used to complement the noun or pronoun in a sentence. According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, a complement is defined as a word or phrase that is added “to something in a way that improves it or makes it more attractive”, and according to the Cambridge Dictionary, a complement is defined as “a part of a clause that usually follows the verb in English and adds more information about the subject or object”.

“In grammar, the complement of a link verb is an adjective group or noun group which comes after the verb and describes or identifies the subject”, according to the Collins Dictionary. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a complement as “an added word or expression by which a prediction is made complete (such as ‘president’ in “They elected him president“, and ‘beautiful’ in “He thought her beautiful“)”.

Types of Complements

Complements include every type of word that can qualify a noun or pronoun. Different parts of speech can be used as complements in a sentence. Complements include adjectives, positions, professions and names.

In a sentence, there can be two types of complements, namely,

  • The Subject Complement
  • The Object Complement

Let us look at each of these in detail.

The Subject Complement

A subject complement is a word or phrase that modifies the noun or pronoun that acts as the subject in the sentence. It is found in sentences with sentence patterns such as SVC, SVCA, ASVC, etc. For instance, the adjective ‘new’ in the sentence, This dress is new is a subject complement.

The Object Complement

An object complement is a word or phrase that modifies the noun or pronoun that acts as the object in the sentence. It is found in sentences with sentence patterns such as SVOC and ASVOC. For instance, the word ‘Shadow’ in the sentence, We named our dog, Shadow is the object complement.

Examples of Sentences with Complements

Here are a few examples of sentence structures with complements for your reference. Try to analyse where and how they are placed in sentences.

Examples of Sentences with Subject Complements

  • Today is Wednesday.
  • Pranav is a student.
  • Your car is amazing.
  • She seems nice.
  • We were exhausted after a day of tiring work.

Examples of Sentences with Object Complements

  • Mazeeka made her mom happy.
  • I painted my nails pink.
  • The company designated Tina the employee of the month.
  • Making handmade gifts makes my mind stress-free.
  • This makes the problem even more complicated.

Check Your Understanding of Complements

Identify the complements in the following sentences and also mention if it is a subject complement or an object complement.

1. Luke and Lorelai named their daughter Rory.

2. What I said made my uncle angry.

3. The chief guest was late to the meeting.

4. I am irritated.

5. All the members of the team were not happy with the decision.

6. We elected Gokul the class leader.

7. The cupboard was broken.

8. My neighbour is from France.

9. Yesterday, the whole city was on red alert.

10. Dennis is an architect.

Check out from the below sentences if you identified the complements correctly.

1. Luke and Lorelai named their daughter Rory. – Object Complement

2. What I said made my uncle angry.Object Complement

3. The chief guest was late to the meeting. – Subject Complement

4. I am irritated. – Subject Complement

5. All the members of the team were not happy with the decision. – Subject Complement

6. We elected Gokul the class leader. – Object Complement

7. The cupboard was broken. – Subject Complement

8. My neighbour is from France. – Subject Complement

9. Yesterday, the whole city was on red alert. – Subject Complement

10. Dennis is an architect. – Subject Complement

Frequently Asked Questions on Complements

What is a complement?

A complement, as the name suggests, is a word that is used to complement the noun or pronoun in a sentence. Complements include adjectives, positions, professions and names.

What is the definition of a complement?

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, a complement is defined as a word or phrase that is added “to something in a way that improves it or makes it more attractive”, and according to the Cambridge Dictionary, a complement is defined as “a part of a clause that usually follows the verb in English and adds more information about the subject or object”. “In grammar, the complement of a link verb is an adjective group or noun group which comes after the verb and describes or identifies the subject”, according to the Collins Dictionary. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a complement as “an added word or expression by which a prediction is made complete (such as ‘president’ in “They elected him president”, and ‘beautiful’ in “He thought her beautiful”)”.

What are the types of complements?

In a sentence, there can be two types of complements namely,
The Subject Complement and
The Object Complement

Give some examples of complements.

Here are a few sentence examples having complements

  • She seems nice.
  • We were exhausted after a day of tiring work.
  • Making handmade gifts makes my mind stress-free.
  • This makes the problem even more complicated.
  • Mazeeka made her mom happy.