You know what an adjective is, right? Now, what is an adjective complement? Simply put, it’s a clause or phrase that modifies an adjective or adds to its meaning. An adjective complement usually consists of a noun clause or a prepositional phrase.
An adjective complement is a functional part of a sentence that completes, or complements, the adjective. As mentioned, it can be a noun clause or a prepositional phrase.
A noun clause is simply two or more words that function as a noun. It should have a subject and a verb, and, since it takes the place of a noun, it’s a dependent clause and cannot stand alone. A noun clause starts with the words “that," “how,” “if,” and the “wh-” words — “what,” “when,” “why,” etc.
A prepositional phrase starts with a preposition — such as “with,” “about,” “on,” or “in” — and is followed by a noun, pronoun, noun phrase, pronoun phrase, or noun clause.
An adjective complement always follows the adjective it complements.
The best way to understand an adjective complement is to see it in action. And, remember, the adjective will always precede the adjective complement.
Take a look at these example sentences with the adjective complement underlined:
As you start to understand the place of these clauses in a sentence and want to see more, head over to Adjective Complement Examples.
Adjectives are popular parts of speech, but you also have subjects, verbs, adverbs, direct objects, and more. So, you may not be surprised to learn there are other types of complements, too.
Three other common types are: subject complements, object complements, and verb complements.
A subject complement is one or more words which acts as an adjective or noun and modifies or refers to the subject of the sentence. It follows linking verbs, such as: is, are, was, become, seems, tasted, smells, and feels. For example:
An object complement is one or more words which acts as an adjective or noun and modifies or refers to the direct object of the sentence. It follows the direct object. For example:
Verb complements are phrases or clauses, like adjective complements. They act as objects of other verbs, either directly or indirectly.
It’s important to note that verb complements may include infinitives. Also, gerunds and noun clauses may act as verb complements. For example:
Don’t let these technical terms deter you from one central theme. An adjective complement enhances an adjective in order to provide further detail. That’s all there is to it!
One of the simplest examples above was, “I will be happy when I get married.” What’s the adjective in that sentence? Happy. Why is this person happy? Because they are getting married. Be sure to make use of these clauses and phrases in your writing whenever they apply; they’re fantastic methods of elaboration.