An adjective complement is a clause or phrase that adds to the meaning of an adjective or modifies it. The adjective complement always follows the adjective it complements and it is a noun clause or a prepositional phrase.
A noun clause is simply two or more words that act like a noun. It can be the subject of a sentence, an object of a verb or preposition, or they can complement a subject or adjective. It contains a subject and a verb and since it takes the place of a noun, it is a dependent clause and can not stand alone as a sentence. Examples include: what you see, that he is happy, and where Sara went.
A prepositional phrase starts with a preposition and modifies nouns and verbs. Examples include: “It came with the car”, “I need a ride to the bank”, “Trolls live under the bridge”, “We can eat dinner after the show”, and “Park the car next to the building.”
The best way to answer the question, “What is an adjective complement?” is to show it in sentences. Following are sentences with the adjective complement underlined. Remember that the adjective precedes the adjective complement.
There are subject complements, object complements, and verb complements. Subject and object complements can be one or more words and verb complements are a phrase or clause, like the adjective complement.
A subject complement comes after a linking verb, like: is, are, was, become, seem, grow, taste, smell, and feel. Examples are: “Whales are beautiful”, “She is the star”, “The food smells delicious”, “The flowers grow taller each day” and “I am on the roof.” Sometimes a verb can act as an adjective. One example is: “The crystals are not completely formed.”
Object complements follow a direct object and modify it. They will describe the object or rename it. It can be a noun, an adjective, or a group of words that act like a noun or adjective. Examples are: “That should keep them happy.” “I knight you Sir Peter.” and “The students were excited.”
A verb complement acts as an object of a verb in either a direct or indirect way. It can use infinitives, like in “She wanted him to leave.” Gerunds can be a part of the verb complement, as in “I considered leaving the Army.” Lastly, noun clauses can be verb complements like: “He insisted that he pay the check.”
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