An adjective complement is a clause or phrase that modifies an adjective or adds to the meaning of the adjective. 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 adjective complement always follows the adjective it complements.
The best way to understand adjective complements is to show them in sentences.
Following are sentences with the adjective complement underlined. Remember, the adjective precedes the adjective complement.
For more examples, see Adjective Complement Examples.
There are subject complements, object complements, and verb complements.
Subject complements can be one or more words. They come after a linking verb, like: is, are, was, become, seem, grow, taste, smell, and feel. Examples are:
Sometimes a verb can act as an adjective. An example is: “The crystals are not completely formed.”
Object complements can also be one or more words. They 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.
A verb complement is a phrase or clause, like the adjective complement. It 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.”
Noun clauses can be verb complements like: “He insisted that he pay the check.”
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