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Using Verb Phrases as Adjective Phrase Complements

Using Verb Phrases as Adjective Phrase Complements

Verbs are notionally defined by traditional grammars as “words that denote an action or a state of being.” A verb phrase is a grammatical structure that consists of a verb that functions as the verb phrase head plus any auxiliary verbs, particles, modifiers, complements, and objects. An infinitive phrase consists of the p-word to functioning as an infinitive marker plus the rest of the verb phrase.

In grammar, an adjective phrase complement is a word, phrase, or clause that completes the meaning of an adjective or adjective phrase. In addition to prepositional phrases and noun clauses, verb phrases in the form of infinitives also perform the grammatical function of adjective phrase complement. Examples of verb phrases as adjective phrase complements include the following:

  • The little girl is anxious to meet the new teacher.
  • He is bound to fail the quiz.
  • The exam will be hard to ace.
  • She is lucky to have survived the crash.
  • We are stunned to be learning about your secret.
  • I am nervous to assist the Prime Minister.

Verb Phrase as Adjective Phrase Complement

Verb Phrase as Adjective Phrase Complement Grammar Tree


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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