Syntactic Theory

The Predicative Complement

Test for identifying predicative complements in English

  • A predicative complement follows a 'linking verb' (copula verb)
    ** This is [a good idea]pred.comp.
    • Pat will always remain a good friend.
    • The committee elected John [chairman]pred.comp.
    • Pat considered Kim [a genius]pred.comp.
  • Passivization: A predicative complement cannot be passivized:
    *A genius was considered Kim by Pat. (compare with passivization of the direct object: Kim was considered a genius by Pat.)

Categories and structural position

  • The predicative complement can be any major phrase (NP, AP, PP, VP)
  • The predicative complement is a sister to V and a daughter to VP.
  • If there is a direct object, the predicative complement follows the direct object.

             /   \
            /     AuxP
           /     /    \
        subj    /   __VP___
         /     /   /       \
        /     /   /        pred.comp
       /     /   /           \
     NP   Aux   V      _______NP________
    /__\   |    |     /_________________\
    Pat  will become  president of the US.

Read further on other grammatical functions:

Categories: Glossary