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Complements in English Grammar (Types and Examples)

Learning English with The AN and freSy

Complement is the one which adds something to the subject and object in the form of a Noun, Pronoun, or Adjective. It is one of the most important topics for competitive exams and makes the students understand the basics of English grammar

What is a Complement?

As the name suggests complements are the ones which complete the sentence or predicate or give a sentence complete meaning

Complement Definition

As the verb is the heart of the sentence, likewise the man is considered dead if he doesn’t do any action. In a similar way complements are required to give a complete sense to a particular sentence. It tells something about nouns or pronouns.

Noun: Anything which can be seen, felt, touched, any naming words

Examples: Pain, Love, Management, etc.

It attaches with the linking verb or after it in the form of a word, phrase, or clause.

Example: She (pronoun) is (linking verb) a dentist (complement)

a) Word: a combination of alphabets that gives the perfect sense like memory

b) Phrase: A combination of words which doesn’t have a verb or a subject means that doesn’t give the complete sense like on the table, in the morning

c) Clause: A combination of words which has a verb or subject but sometimes gives the complete sense or sometimes does not.

Example: If I were a teacher

Linking verbs are in form of Be ( is, am, are, was, were), taste, smell, hear, see, etc.

Types of Complements

Complements are of two types:

a. Subject complement

b. Object complement

Subject: It is defined as the one who does the work or about whom we talk


  • There are mountains (mountains – subject)
  • John is different from others (John – subject)
a. Subject complement

The one which gives a complete sense to the subject or says something about the subject.

Subject complements can be in the form of Noun or adjective

Adjective: Which qualifies a noun or pronoun like broken chair (broken – adjective)

i) Subject Complements in the form of Noun


  • Mary is a teacher by profession. (Teacher is a subject complement in the form of Noun which tells about Mary.)
  • Dad is upstairs. (Upstairs is an adverb – subject complement)
  • We are brothers not by blood but by nature. (Brothers is subject complement in the form of Noun)
  • I am he. (he is the subject complement )
  • She looks burnt to a cinder. (burnt to a cinder is the subject complement)
ii) Subject Complement in the form of Adjective
  • They are very genuine. (Genuine is the adjective tells about they)
  • This man standing there is very confused. (Confused is the adjective tells about this man)
  • Your hair smells wonderful. (Wonderful is the subject complement which is an adjective)
b. Object Complement

Object is the one upon which the work has been done.


She made him cry.

  • She is the subject, made is linking verb and him is the object
  • Cry is the word which is used for object ( himcry )
  • Cry is object complement.

She made him cry.

  • Angry is object complement

Modifiers can be options but Complements become necessary completes the predicate.

This is how we describe the subject complement.

Quiz and Exercise on Subject Complement

Identify the complement in each of the following sentences and note whether it is a subject complement or an object complement

  1. Ramo is extremely intelligent
  2. They found him superior to you.
  3. Shreya eventually became his good colleague
  4. After reviewing the details of the case, court pronounced him guilty
  5. We considered Seema our enemy
  6. The only gift Sam gave her brother was a hamster
  7. You make me happy
  1. Intelligent (subject complement) tells about ramo
  2. Superior (object complement as an adjective)
  3. Good colleague (subject complement) tells about shreya
  4. Guilty (object complement)
  5. Enemy (object complement) tells about seema
  6. Hamster (subject complement)
  7. Happy (object complement)


Sentence is the one which is complete in itself having subject, verb and object. Complement is a word which is used to complement the noun or pronoun in a given sentence. It is added to something in a way to improve the sentence .

Subject is the doer of the sentence or about which we talk and what we talk about the subject is the subject complement.

1. She is a model

She is the subject and model is the subject complement.

2. She called me a culprit

Me is the object and culprit is the word which tells about me ( bject).

These are further divided into a noun complement and an adjective complement.

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