Thursday, 13 March 2014

Subject Complements

Subject Complements

In grammar, a subject complement is a predicative expression that follows a linking verb/copula BE (am,is,are,was,were) and that complements the subject of the sentence by either renaming it or describing it.

If we want to know whether a phrase or a word is a subject complement or not, we can equalize it with the subject of the sentence.


1. Malaysians are rich.

-----> Malaysians = rich  (rich is subject complement to Malaysians)

2. Ali is hardworking.

-----> Ali = hardworking  (hardworking is subject complement to Ali)

3. Ali is going to school.

-----> Ali  to school  ( to school is not subject complement for Ali because the main verb is "go"[not a determining factor]).

Determining factor

Two factors help us to determine subject complement.

1. Copula BE (am,is,are,war,were)


  • I am a Malaysian. (I = a Malaysian)
  • He is Ali. (He = Ali)
  • They are here. (They = here)
  • Ali was at home. (Ali = at home)
  • They were happy. (They = happy)
  • Ali will be there. (Ali = there)
2. Linking verb

  • Ali seems/apper/looks disturbed. (Ali = disturbed)
  • Ali is rich. (Ali = rich)
  • Ali gets exited. (Ali = exited)
  • Ali stays/remains cool. (Ali = cool)
  • Ali grows/becomes angry. (Ali = angry)
  • Ali went missing. (Ali = missing)
  • Ali ran amuck. (Ali = amuck)
  • Ali turned green. (Ali = green)
  • The food smells/sounds/tastes good. (The food = good)


There are only three forms of subject complements which are Noun Phrase (NP), Adjective Phrase (AdjP), and Prepositional Phrase (PrepP).

  • Ali is a boy......Ali = a boy...(Np)
  • Ali is hardworking.....Ali = hardworking...(AdjP)
  • Ali is in the mall.....Ali = in the mall...(PrepP)

salam sayang

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