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Using Adjectives and Adjective Phrases as Subject Complements

Using Adjectives and Adjective Phrases as Subject Complements

According to traditional grammars, adjectives as words that modify or describe nouns. An adjective phrase is a phrase that consists of an adjective functioning as the head of the phrase plus any modifiers or complements.

In grammar, a subject complement is a word, phrase, or clause that follows a copular, or linking, verb and describes the subject of a clause. Adjectives and adjective phrases often function as subject complements in English. An adjective that performs the grammatical function of subject complement is also called a predicate adjective. Examples of adjectives and adjective phrases as subject complements include the following:

  • Roses are red. (adjective)
  • Violets are blue. (adjective)
  • The patient appears ill. (adjective)
  • My soup tastes peppery. (adjective)
  • Those children are quite rowdy. (adjective phrase)
  • That hand lotion is too sticky. (adjective phrase)
  • Some men are fond of football. (adjective phrase)
  • Your daughter seems much too shy to try out. (adjective phrase)

Adjective and Adjective Phrase as Subject Complements

Adjective and Adjective Phrase as Subject Complements Grammar Tree

Adjective Phrase as Subject Complement

Adjective Phrases as Subject Complements Grammar Tree

References

Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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