predicate is the completer of a sentence. The
names the "do-er" or "be-er" of the sentence; the predicate does the rest of
the work. A simple predicate consists of only a verb, verb string, or
The glacier melted.
The glacier has been melting.
The glacier melted, broke apart, and slipped into
compound predicate consists of two (or more) such
The glacier began to slip down the mountainside and eventually
crushed some of the village's outlying
complete predicate consists of the verb and all
accompanying modifiers and other words that receive the action of a
transitive verb or complete its meaning. The following description
of predicates comes from The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers
(examples our own):
complements are included in the predicate. (The glacier is
melting.) With a
object complements are said to be part of the predicate. (The slow
moving glacier wiped out an entire forest. It gave the
villagers a lot of problems.) With a
linking verb, the subject is connected to a
subject complement. (The mayor doesn't feel good.)
predicate adjective follows a linking verb and tells
us something about the subject:
Ramonita is beautiful.
His behavior has been outrageous.
That garbage on the street smells bad.
predicate nominative follows a linking verb and tells
us what the subject is:
Dr. Couchworthy is acting president of the
She used to be the tallest girl on the team.
Direct and Indirect Objects
A direct object is the receiver of action within a
sentence, as in "He hit the ball." Be careful to distinguish between
a direct object and an
They named their daughter Natasha.
In that sentence, "daughter" is the direct
object and "Natasha" is the object complement, which renames or describes
the direct object.
indirect object identifies to or for whom or what
the action of the verb is performed. The direct object and indirect object
are different people or places or things. The direct objects in the
sentences below are in boldface; the indirect objects are in
The instructor gave his students A's.
Grandfather left Rosalita and Raoul all his money.
Jo-Bob sold me her boat.
Incidentally, the word me (and similar
object-form pronouns such as him, us, them) is not always an indirect
object; it will also serve, sometimes, as a direct object.
Call me/him/them if you have questions.
In English, nouns and their accompanying modifiers (articles
and adjectives) do not change form when they are used as objects or indirect
objects, as they do in many other languages. "The radio is on the
desk" and "I borrowed the radio" contain exactly the same word form
used for quite different functions. This is not true of
however, which use different forms for different functions. (He
[subject] loves his grandmother. His grandmother loves him
Since this page is about the completers of thoughts, it is
appropriate to include a brief description of complements. A complement
(notice the spelling of the word) is any word or phrase that completes the
sense of a
object, or a
verb. As you will see, the terminology describing predicates and
complements can overlap and be a bit confusing. Students are probably wise
to learn one set of terms, not both.
subject complement follows a
linking verb; it is normally an adjective or a noun that renames or
defines in some way the subject.
A glacier is a huge body of ice.
Glaciers are beautiful and potentially dangerous at the same time.
This glacier is not yet fully formed. (verb form
acting as an adjective, a participle)
Adjective complements are also called predicate adjectives; noun complements are also called
nouns or predicate nominatives. See
An object complement follows and modifies or refers
direct object. It can be a noun or adjective or any word acting as a
noun or adjective.
The convention named Dogbreath Vice President to
keep him happy.
(The noun "Vice President" complements the
direct object "Dogbreath"; the adjective "happy" complements the
The clown got the children too excited.
participle "excited" complements the object "children.")
A verb complement is a direct or indirect object of
a verb. (See
Granny left Raoul all her money.
"money" [the direct object] and "Raoul" [the indirect object] are
said to be the verb complements of this sentence.)
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