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Sentence Complements

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Sentence Complements

Along with a verb, complete predicates often contain a complement.

A complement is a word or word group that completes the meaning of the predicate.

There are five primary kinds of sentence complements:

1)Direct Objects,

2)Indirect Objects,

3)Object Complements,

4)Predicate Nominatives, and

5)Nredicate Adjectives.

The last two are often called Subject Complements.

Direct Objects

A direct object is the noun, pronoun, or word acting as a noun that completes the meaning of a transitive verb.

A direct object completes the meaning of the transitive verb by receiving the action. (In transitive action verbs do not have direct objects.) To help decide if a word is a direct object, ask "What?" or "Whom?" after an action verb.


1) Martha won the stuffed dog.

(What did she win? The stuffed dog.)

2)The hurricane damaged the trees and sidewalks.

(What did the hurricane damage? The trees and sidewalks.)

3)The waiter served Jack.

(Whom did the waiter serve? He served Jack.)

Indirect Object

An indirect object is a noun or pronoun that names the person or thing that something is done to or given to.

Indirect objects are located after the action verb and before the direct object. Obviously, they are found only in sentences that have direct objects. Indirect objects answer the questions "To whom?" "For whom?" "To what?" or "For what?"


The assistant gave the supervisor the file folders.

The receptionist handed the mother the invoice.

Has the fire marshal told you about the new fire safety regulations?

Object Complements

An object complement is a noun or adjective immediately after a direct object that either renames or describes it.

Object complements are found only in sentences that have direct objects.


The scientists called the first duckbilled platypus a hoax.

Upon closer examination, they decided that it was a reptile.

Subject Complements: Predicate Nominatives and Predicate Adjectives

The word "predicate" indicates that subject complements, as with object complements, are found in the sentence predicates.

A subject complement is a noun, pronoun, or adjective that follows a linking verb and gives further information about the subject of a sentence.

Predicate Nominatives

A predicate nominative is a noun or pronoun that follows a linking verb to explain the subject of a sentence.


The new head of the division will be Henry.

Which of those two movies seems the better one to see?

Predicate Adjective

A predicate adjective is an adjective that follows a linking verb to explain the subject of a sentence.


The vegetable soup smelled delicious.

My husband's collection of comic books grows larger and more valuable every day.

Sample Usage

As mentioned above.

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