English Grammar Basic Grammar and syntax

Subject complement (with examples)

Subject Complement (with Examples)

Subject Complement

A subject object is a word or phrase that follows a linking verb and identifies or describes the subject.

(Note: A linking verb is a verb used to link a subject to a new identity or description. Common examples are being, becoming, appearing, feeling, looking, smelling, and tasting.)

A subject complement is an adjective, a noun, or a pronoun.

Easy Examples of Subject Complements

In the examples below, linking verbs are in bold and subject complements are shaded:

  • Ben is a policeman.
    (The linking verb is is (i.e., the verb to be). The subject complement identifies the subject Ben. It is a noun.)
  • He will be fine.
    (The linking verb is will be (i.e., the verb to be). The subject complement describes the subject He. It is an adjective.)
  • I am he.
    (The linking verb is am (i.e., the verb to be). The subject complement identifies the subject I. It is a pronoun.)
  • That pie looks burnt to a cinder.
    (The linking verb is looks. The subject complement describes the subject That pie. It is an adjective. Don’t forget adjectives (just like nouns) also come in the form of phrases.)

More Examples of Subject Complements

Aquí hay algunos ejemplos más de complementos de materia:

  • Ella was a ghost. She appeared at 12 and looked stunning.
  • Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work . (Thomas A Edison, 1847-1931)
    (Remember that adjectives and nouns can come in the forms of adjective phrases and noun phrases too.)
  • If you put butter and salt on popcorn, it tastes like salty butter. (Terry Pratchett)
  • As for me, except for an occasional heart attack, I feel as young as I ever did. (Robert Benchley, 1889-1945)

Why Should I Care about Subject Complements?

Los complementos de materias no causan muchos errores de escritura para los hablantes nativos de inglés. En otras palabras, somos buenos en complementos temáticos. Sin embargo, si estás aprendiendo un idioma (como el ruso) que pone sus complementos en un caso diferente (el caso instrumental en el caso del ruso), quizás quieras prestar un poco más de atención para detectar los complementos.

Here are two issues related to matter plugins.

(Issue 1) Don’t use an adverb as a subject complement.

A subject complement is an adjective, noun or pronoun. Never is an adverb.

  • This soup tastes badly. ❌
    (Tastes is a linking verb. Badly is an adverb, which can’t be used as a subject complement.)
  • This soup tastes bad. ✔️
    (Bad is an adjective.)

It is ironic that this mistake is most commonly made by people who consciously think about whether they should use adjectives or adverbs. Knowing that adverbs modify verbs (like likes), they opt for an adverb. However, likes is a linking verb, which means we need a word to modify the subject. And, for that we need an adjective.

  • Your hair smells wonderfully. ❌
    (Smells is a linking verb. Wonderfully is an adverb, which can’t be used as a subject complement.)
  • Your hair smells wonderful. ✔️
    (Wonderful is an adjective.)

(Issue 2) You can say“It is I“or“It is me.“

Those who insist on writing“It’s me“o“Was the“they have tradition on their side because subject complements were traditionally written in the subjective case (eg, I, she, and he) not in the objective case (eg, I). , Her and him). However, those who prefer to write“It’s me“o“Was the“they have the common use on their side.

So if you think“It was me“doesn’t sound pretentious, use that construction. If you think so, don’t do it. Everybody is a winner.

Key Points

  • Use an adjective, not an adverb, after a linking verb.
    • She looks amazing. ❌
    • She looks amazing. ✔️
  • Write“It was me“if you want. If you can’t stand how that sounds, write“It was me“.

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