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complement clause


complement clause

An example of a complement clause


A subordinate clause that serves to complete the meaning of a noun or verb in a sentence. Also known as a complement phrase (abbreviated as CP).

Complement clauses are generally introduced by subordinating conjunctions (also known as complementizers) and contain the typical elements of clauses: a verb (always), a subject (usually), and direct and indirect objects (sometimes).

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "In versions of grammar that use the concept of complement clause, it largely or entirely replaces the concept of nominal clause (or noun clause) referring to a clause that can occur in positions where noun phrases occur. For example, in I'd like to carry on, the infinitive complement clause is the object of the main clause, filling a position where a noun phrase could occur."
    (Geoffrey N. Leech, A Glossary of English Grammar. Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2006)

  • "Recently, linguists working in the influential theory known as 'generative grammar' have used the term 'complement' to refer to variously closely related kinds of subordinate clause, namely:

    1. Subordinate clauses which on their own serve as the direct object of verbs such as believe, tell, say, know, and understand; the subordinate clauses are the complements of these verbs.
    2. Subordinate clauses which modify various nouns such as story, rumour, and fact, and adjectives such as proud, happy, and sad; the subordinate clauses are the complements of these nouns and adjectives.
    3. Subordinate clauses which on their own act as the subject of sentences with such predicates as be a pity, be a nuisance, be unfortunate, seem, and happen. These clauses are called 'subject complements' or 'subject complement clauses.'
    . . . Sometimes the term 'complement clause' is extended to the adverbial type of subordinate clause as well."
    (James R. Hurford, Grammar: A Student's Guide. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994)

  • "She said she was approaching 40, and I couldn't help wondering from what direction."
    (Bob Hope)

  • "The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence."
    (Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969)
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