Sunday, 6 July 2014

Subject Complement

A subject complement is the adjective, noun, or pronoun that follows a linking verb.
The following verbs are true linking verbs: any form of the verb be [am, is, are, was, were, has been, are being, might have been, etc.], become, and seem. These true linking verbs are always linking verbs.
Then you have a list of verbs that can be linking or action: appearfeelgrowlookprove, remainsmellsoundtaste, and turn. If you can substitute any of the verbs on this second list with an equal sign [=] and the sentence still makes sense, the verb is almost always linking.
Read these examples:
Brandon is a gifted athlete.
Brandon = subject; is = linking verb; athlete = noun as subject complement.
It was he who caught the winning touchdown Friday night.
It = subject; was = linking verb; he = pronoun as subject complement.
Brandon becomes embarrassed when people compliment his skill.
Brandon = subject; becomes = linking verb; embarrassed = adjective as subject complement.
Brandon's face will turn red.
Face = subject; will turn = linking verb; red = adjective as subject complement. [Will turn is linking because if you substitute this verb with an equal sign, the sentence still makes sense.]
Don't mistake a subject complement for a direct object.
Only linking verbs can have subject complements. If the verb is action, then the word that answers the question what? or who? after the subject + verb is a direct object.
When Michelle woke up this morning, she felt sick.
She = subject; felt = linking verb; sick = subject complement. [Felt is linking because if you substitute this verb with an equal sign, the sentence still makes sense.]
Michelle felt her forehead but did not detect a temperature.
Michelle = subject; felt = action verb. She felt what? Forehead = direct object. [Felt is action because if you substitute this felt with an equal sign, the sentence does not make sense.]
Use subject pronouns as subject complements.
The chart below contains subject and object pronouns. Because a subject complement provides more information about the subject, use the subject form of the pronoun—even when it sounds strange.

he, she, it
Him, her, it

Don't blame Gerard. It was I who woke you from a sound sleep.
It = subject; was = linking verb; I = subject complement.
Don't get mad at me! I didn't pull your ponytail! It was he.
It = subject; was = linking verb; he = subject complement.
Remember the amazing guitarist I met? This is she.
This = subject; is = linking verb; she = subject complement.